With the cold winter weather upon us, many Tift County residents are breaking out heaters and firing up long-dormant fireplaces in the evening.

Which means it’s a good time to talk about smoke detector safety.

Nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke detectors, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The Georgia Arson Control Board has shared a few smoke detector maintenance tips for Tift County residents:

• Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or early in the morning, so install smoke detectors both inside and outside of sleeping areas.

• Smoke detectors are not expensive and are worth the lives they can help save. Ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors cost between $6 and $20. Dual sensor smoke detectors cost between $24 and $40.

• Smoke detectors must be maintained. A smoke detector with a dead or missing battery is the same as having no smoke detector at all. Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

• If the smoke detector is powered by battery, it runs on either a disposable 9-volt battery or a non-replaceable 10-year lithium (“long-life”) battery.

• Since you cannot (and should not) replace the lithium battery, the entire smoke detector unit should be replaced according to manufacturer’s instructions.

• The entire smoke detector unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.

• Test the alarm monthly.

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