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The state marshal offers tips on how to listen for the variety of sounds made by smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

This year, National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 3 to 9, calls attention to understanding the different sounds produced by home alarms.

“It’s important that every member of your household, including young children and the elderly, understands what to do when they hear different sounds coming from a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm,” Missouri State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said. “When a smoke alarm chirps intermittently, it means it’s time to change the battery, but a continuous set of three loud beeps – beep, beep, beep – means smoke or fire, and get out, call 9-1-1 and stay out. Understanding the difference and taking the appropriate response saves lives.”

Bean shared these safety tips to help Missourians “learn the sounds of fire safety.”

Smoke alarms

• A continuous set of three loud beeps—beep, beep, beep—means smoke or fire. Get out, call 9-1-1, and stay out.

• A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be replaced.

• All smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years.

• Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.

Carbon Monoxide alarms

• A continuous set of four loud beeps – beep, beep, beep, beep – means carbon monoxide is present. Get outside, call 9-1-1 and stay out.

• A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be replaced.

• CO alarms also have “end of life” sounds that vary by manufacturer. This sound means it’s time to get a new CO alarm.

• Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.

Also, make sure your smoke and CO alarms meet the needs of all your family members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities. Remember these tips:More tips on a variety of fire safety topics are available on the Division of Fire Safety website at dfs.dps.mo.gov/safetytips/.

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