Smoke alarms are critical when it comes to the early detection of a fire in your home. In fact, it may make the difference between life and death. Fires occur due to a number of factors and may start in any room of your home. But, regardless of how and where a fire originates in your home, having a smoke alarm is the first key step toward ensuring your family’s safety.
Here are four important facts to know when it comes to smoke alarms:
1. More lives are lost due to smoke inhalation than burns. Each year in the United States, about 2,000 people lose their lives in home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). It is important to understand that in a fire, smoke and deadly gases tend to spread farther and faster than heat. This is one of the reasons why a majority of fire accident victims die from smoke inhalation and inhaling toxic gases rather than burn injuries.
A majority of fatal fires happen when families are asleep and the occupants are not aware of the fire until there is not enough time to escape. A smoke alarm is invaluable as it monitors round the clock and when it initially senses smoke, it sends out a shrill, audible alarm.
2. Smoke alarms save lives. About two-thirds of home-fire fatalities occur in homes that have no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms are considered to be one of the best and least expensive means of providing an early warning of a potentially deadly fire and may reduce the risk of a fatality by almost half.
Remember, when a fire breaks out, you only have minutes to safely get out of your house. It is also a fact that materials burn faster these days and the smoke is much deadlier because of plastic and other chemicals that are in the everyday products that we use.
3. The location is important. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas and inside bedrooms. Factors that may influence the placement of smoke alarms in your home include how many need to be installed – you may want to place alarms along your escape path to help you get out when visibility is limited. In general, you should be placing these alarms in the center of a ceiling or, if you place them on a wall, they should be near the ceiling.
4. New York’s laws have changed. On April 1, a new state law went into effect, making it mandatory for all new or replacement smoke detectors sold in New York State to be either powered by a 10-year, sealed, non-removable battery or hardwired to the home. Anyone who currently has smoke detectors with batteries that need to be changed every year or so will still be able to use them, but when they still need to be replaced, those types of detectors will no longer be available for sale.
This law change is a good idea particularly for those people who forget to check their batteries or for those who tend to remove the batteries to prevent cooking smoke from setting off their alarms and then forget to put them back in. The 10-year, sealed smoke and carbon monoxide detector is available for sale at retail outlets.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
In instances where injuries or fatalities occur due to a lack of working smoke alarms or sprinklers etc., the victims or families of deceased victims can file a premises liability case against the at-fault parties including, but not limited to, the landlord, property owner, property manager, etc. Property owners and/or property managers are responsible for maintaining their properties and ensuring that they are safe for tenants, visitors and guests.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a fire, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. Our firm obtained a $985,000 settlement out of a $1 million policy for two people who suffered smoke inhalation injuries because the homeowner did not have smoke detectors installed and the $15,000 was left for a person that we did not represent. One of our clients recovered $2,500,000 due to a faulty space heater. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
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