California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) Recommends Changing Your Smoke Alarm or Batteries When You Change Your Clock for Daylight Savings Time
October 2008 (Palm Springs, Calif.) — The United States has one of the highest fire death and injury rates in the world. Fire — in the form of flames and smoke — is the second leading cause of accidental death in the home. Approximately 4,000 people lose their lives annually in residential fires. Every year, there are more than 500,000 residential fires serious enough to be reported to fire departments. Property losses exceed 4 billion dollars annually, and the long term emotional damage to victims and their loved ones is incalculable according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. They have contributed to an almost 50% decrease in dwelling fire deaths since the late 1970s. In the reported home fire deaths in 2000-2004, 46% resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms according to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association. Nuisance alarms, inoperative or removed batteries are the leading causes of disabled smoke alarms. Smoke alarms have an 8-10 year useful life expectancy whether they are hardwired or battery operated. Many alarms are 30% less effective after 8 years.
Early warning fire detection is best achieved by the installation of fire detection equipment on each level of a dwelling, in each sleeping room, each hallway outside of sleeping rooms, stairways, furnace room, closets and storage areas according to the California State Fire Marshall. Choose an alarm from a recognized testing laboratory which will have helpful and informative instructions. Combination photoelectric and ionization alarms have a better chance to detect a slow smoldering or flaming fires. Smoke alarms are available for people who are hearing impaired. These alarms use strobe lights. Vibration equipment can be added to these alarms.
Nuisance alarms may occur when a smoke alarm is installed too close to the attic, garage, kitchen, bathroom, return air or register of the heating and cooling system, or less than 4” to ceiling or wall. Get in the habit of replacing batteries when you change your clock or immediately when an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low. Developing a fire escape plan, that you practice, ensures a greater chance that everyone will safely exit your dwelling if a fire ever (may it never) occur. Visit NFPA.org, CPSC.gov or your local fire authority websites for more information to better protect your family and property.
Homebuyers and sellers are urged to retain the services of qualified inspectors trained and experienced in home inspection. It is also very important that the inspector be a member of a well-founded professional association such as CREIA. Established in 1976, CREIA is the largest and oldest state inspection association in the country. CREIA inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed and maintained by the Association. Recognized by the State of California, these Standards of Practice are considered the source for Home Inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities.
CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a comprehensive written examination of property systems and complete 30 hours of continuing education each year. Members can accumulate credits through various sources of education including monthly chapter meetings, conferences, and other approved activities. CREIA keeps records to ensure that members are complying with the requirements. Educational topics cover a variety of technical subjects including updates and advances affecting the profession of real estate inspection.
CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education. To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you click here or call CREIA at (800) 388-8443.
For the CREIA Press Release Archives click here.