The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) announced that the week of October 5-11, 2014 is Fire Prevention Week. The theme of the week-long fire prevention campaign, which is the 90th annual event of its kind, is “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!”
“Smoke alarms can help make the difference between life and death in a fire, but they need to be working,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign reinforces the importance of testing smoke alarms each month, and works to ensure that people have the needed protection in the event of a home fire.”
Educating people about smoke alarm devices is important, since nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths reportedly result from fires in homes without operational smoke alarms.
“The common presence of smoke alarms in the home tends to create a false sense of security,” said Carli. “Simply having smoke alarms isn’t enough. They need to be tested and maintained properly.”
Here are ways that smoke alarms figured in United States’ fires between 2007 and 2011, which is the most recent national smoke alarm study:
- Smoke alarms sounded in half of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
- Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- No smoke alarms were present in more than one-third (37%) of the home fire deaths.
In addition to monthly testing, smoke alarms should be installed and maintained according to the following 10 steps:
- Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home.
- Install alarms in the basement.
- If you own a large home, you may need to install extra smoke alarms.
- If possible, use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
- Be aware that there are two kinds of alarms – Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires, and photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. If possible, use both types of alarms in the home.
- A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall.
- Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
- People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms feature strobe lights and bed shakers.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
The NFPA website has a wealth of additional smoke alarm information and resources for parents and teachers, and for fire departments working to implement the campaign in their communities. In addition, the NFPA Sparky the Fire Dog® website (www.sparky.org/fpw) features award-winning apps and games for kids that reinforce the campaign’s fire safety messages. What’s more, the NFPA and its 2014 FPW partners are working together to promote the importance of monthly testing and related smoke alarm education. For more information about Fire Prevention Week and upcoming events, visit www.fpw.org.
For relevant fire prevention information relative to high rise buildings and facilities’ management, check out our recent fire prevention blog posts. We hope you will observe National Fire Prevention Week, and take steps to make sure you and your tenants or building occupants are #FireSafe. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to helping improve and save lives. Visit our website for ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.