Champaign Residents Saved by Working Smoke Alarms

Over the last two nights, residents in the City of Champaign were awoken when their smoke alarms activated and indicated smoke and fire in the residence. After being awoken by the sounding smoke alarms, the residents found working fires and called 9-1-1 before evacuating the home. Commenting on the two incidents, Champaign Fire Chief Gary Ludwig said, “I have no doubt the smoke alarms prevented injuries and maybe even some deaths. I strongly urge all residents to make sure they have working smoke alarms in their home.” Repeated studies have shown that people cannot smell smoke when they are in a deep sleep and what awakens them is the audible sound of the smoke alarm.

Three out of five home fire deaths in 2007-2011 resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms, according to the report “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires,” released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The report examines the number of reported fires in U.S. households with and without working smoke alarms, as well as the effectiveness of smoke alarms in preventing fire-related deaths.

The Champaign Fire Department recommends:

  • Installing smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • For the best protection, interconnecting all smoke alarms so when one sounds they all sound.
  • Using both photoelectric and ionization smoke alarms or combination of ionization and photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor alarms. An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires.
  • Replacing all smoke alarms every 10 years or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.
  • Testing all smoke alarms at least once a month by using the test button.

Contact: Gary Ludwig, Fire Chief |  Phone: 217-403-7200 / 636-232-7478
Email: Gary.Ludwig@ci.champaign.il.us