Why you should have a smoke alarm - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Why you should have a smoke alarm

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KENNEWICK, Wash.—Four local people have died in home fires this past week, and investigators say there was one thing in common.

In both the Finley house fire last week and the Ellensburg duplex fire over the weekend, smoke alarms were missing batteries.  Firefighters say more than half of the house fires they respond to don't have working smoke alarms, and it is a huge problem.

Firefighters say have a smoke detector, make sure it's installed properly and working.  Change your batteries twice a year, and use the test button.  They also say fire victims who don't use detectors usually have the same reasoning.

‘We go in there and find out there was no operating smoke detectors, and we say we noticed your smoke detector wasn't working, and they say yeah I didn't think it was going to happen to me," says Devin Helland, Benton County Fire Department.

Firefighters say you should have a detector in hallways and major rooms.  You can even now record your own voice instead of having the alarm sound on some models. 

Bottom line, firefighters say, a smoke detector costs under $20 and will last for 10 years, not a big cost when saving a life.