Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

October 7, 2016
Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, DO, MPH, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


Replace smoke alarms every ten years

NEW CITY, NY - - Did you know that 3 out of 5 home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms? With that in mind, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert encourage residents to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement. In addition, replace all smoke alarms when they are ten years old or if they don't respond when tested. To find out how old a smoke alarm is: the date of manufacture is located on the back of the alarm; the alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.

"Don't Wait, Check the Date" is the theme behind this year's Fire Prevention Week (October 9th – 15th) from the National Fire Protection Association. "Having working smoke alarms greatly increase your chances of surviving a home fire, as they can alert you and your family to a fire, not only during the night, but 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Dr. Ruppert.

During Fire Prevention Week, a public information table will be located on the first floor of the Allison-Parris County Office Building, outside the Legislative Chambers, at 11 New Hempstead Road in New City. Information about smoke alarms, CO (carbon monoxide) alarms, fire prevention, and fire escape planning will be available.

The Health Department's Healthy Neighborhood Program can provide and install FREE smoke alarms to eligible residents, including low-to-modest income residents, at-risk families, and seniors. A brief home survey is required at the time of the visit. "We encourage residents to take advantage of the free smoke alarms, as we find many residents have outdated smoke alarms or no smoke alarms in their homes," said Christine Wagner and Shari Stopler of the Healthy Neighborhood Program. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 845-364-3292 or 845-364-3290.

With a few simple steps, residents can greatly reduce their risk of injury or death from fire. The Healthy Neighborhood Program also encourages residents to:

  • Replace all smoke alarms, including those that use a 10-year battery and hard wired alarms, when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.
  • Change batteries in smoke alarms twice a year - when you change your clocks, change your batteries.
  • Replace the battery right away if an alarm "chirps" that the battery is low.
  • Test smoke alarms once a month by using the test button and make sure everyone knows the sound.
  • NEVER smoke in bed, and do not walk away from a lit cigarette - better yet, try to quit smoking! Call the Health Department's Put It Out Rockland Quit Smoking Program at 845-364-2651 for one-on-one help with quitting and low-cost nicotine patches that can double your chances of being successful, or call the New York State Smokers' Quitline at 1-866- NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) for help with quitting.
  • Never leave food cooking unattended - a serious fire can start in just seconds.
  • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned.
  • Make sure that your heating systems and appliances are working properly, and are installed and serviced annually by qualified professionals.
  • Make sure your space heater is UL listed, and that the cords are not frayed, and the heater is in proper working condition.
  • Never drape curtains or clothes over space heaters.
  • Develop a home fire escape plan.
  • Know two ways out of every room. Make sure doors and windows open easily.

For more information, call the Healthy Neighborhood Program at 845-364-3292 or 845-364-3290 or visit the National Fire Protection Association website at