The Importance of Smoke Alarms

Community, Press Release
smoke alarm
The importance of smoke alarms in your home is something that we write about several times a year. It can not be overstated. It is a simple and easy way to save lives from home fires. Union County Fire Department encourages everyone to install smoke alarms throughout the home. If you have smoke alarms, it is important to ensure that they are working; that they are tested; and that you and your family know what to do when they alarm.
Why is it important to have smoke alarms in the home? A myth about a home fire is that the fire is what kills the occupants. That is possible but the main killer is the smoke. Smoke reduces the amount of clean, breathable air and can fill a room in seconds.
Smoke contains harmful substances like carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. These harmful substances, along with heated gases, irritate the lungs and prevent the body from using what little oxygen is breathed in. The person’s body starts to shut down, they pass out; and become a victim of smoke inhalation. Properly working smoke alarms can warn the occupants at the first signs of smoke and give them a chance to get out of the building before they breathe in too much of the harmful smoke.
Another issue is the materials found in a home today. Most are made of plastic. Plastic burns very quickly and as it burns, it produces heavy, dark smoke which starts at the ceiling and collects down to the floor. This smoke is not only harmful but can severely reduce visibility . It can block out the lights and make escape difficult. A person can get disoriented in their own home from the layers of heavy, dark smoke.
You never know when a home fire may occur. Having smoke alarms can warn occupants and allow them to exit the home. But for this to happen, smoke alarms must be installed, tested, and the occupants must have an escape plan.
Union County Fire Department offers free smoke alarms to residents of Union County. A person can request the department to come to their home and install the smoke alarms. If you wish to request smoke alarms for your home, complete the request on our web page at and select the Smoke Alarm Request link.

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