Smoke Alarms

Working smoke alarms make a difference in surviving a fire.

As the rest of the nation chimes Change your clock; change your battery, Oregon smoke alarm law sings a different tune. Oregon Revised Statute 497.297 requires battery operated ionization-only alarms sold in Oregon to have a hush feature and a ten-year battery. Exempt from Oregon’s unique law are photoelectric only and combination photoelectric-ionization alarms with 9-volt batteries. Some styles of wireless and interconnected alarms are also exempt.

The Oregon Life Safety Team is working with the public to clarify Oregon’s complex law and the variety of alarms available. They are assisting retailers selling smoke alarms to ensure they sell alarms fitting Oregon law. They are also educating citizens on how to make sure they have a working smoke alarm and what to do when the alarm sounds.

“Forty percent of residential fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms,” explains State Fire Marshal Nancy Orr. “While we may set our clocks to spring forward and fall back, please check your smoke alarms monthly to ensure they are working.”

Our recommends all homes have working smoke alarms in hallways outside bedrooms, on every level and in every bedroom.

Citizens surviving recent fires in Boring, Salem, Clackamas and Charleston all attribute the early warning from working smoke alarms as their lifesaver. Local smoke alarm programs, many supported by citizens working with the fire departments, are contributing to these success stories. Firefighters, often accompanied by community members, canvass communities to ensure:

  • Every residence has a working smoke alarm in the right place,
  • Households know how to test alarms, and
  • Everyone knows what to do to when there is a fire.

Oregonian’s die in fires when there is no working smoke alarm. Working smoke alarms increase chances of survival by 50 percent. For more information:

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