Fire Prevention Week, October 4th-10th
With cooler weather and the holiday season fast approaching, the potential for home fires increases significantly. October is National Fire Prevention Month when public service departments across the country spread the word about fire safety. October 4th – 10th is Fire Prevention Week; this year’s theme is “Hear the Beep where you Sleep.” The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week, for more than 90 years, is urging the public to install working smoke alarms in every bedroom. Reports indicate 25% of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom and half, 50%, of home fire deaths occurred between 11:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m. when most people are sleeping.
Smoke alarms save lives. When a fire occurs in the home, smoke spreads quickly; smoke alarms provide an early warning allowing you time to escape a home fire. When properly installed and maintained, working smoke alarms save lives and protect against injury and loss due to fire. You double your chances of surviving a home fire with working smoke alarms compared to homes without working smoke alarms.
In 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home fires which caused 12,200 injuries, 2,755 deaths, and $7.0 billion in direct damage.
- On average, eight people died in U.S. home fires every day.
- Three out of five (60%) 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.
- Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Safety Tips
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
- Test your smoke alarms every month.
- When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
- Call 911 once you’re safely outside.
- Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years or sooner if they don’t respond when testing:
- For smoke alarms with a non-replaceable battery, replace the entire smoke alarm if it begins chirping.
- For smoke alarms with regular batteries, replace the batteries once a year when you change your clocks, fall back, spring forward, or before if the battery starts to chirp.
- Smoke alarms should be interconnected, so when one alarm sounds, they all do.
Smoke Alarms for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
There are over 22 million deaf or hard of hearing impaired persons in the U.S. – six million of which are profoundly Deaf who are unable to rely on traditional audible smoke alarms to alert them of fire. However, there are special designed smoke alarms for the Deaf and hard of hearing. There are vibrating alarms or visual alarms equipped with flashing strobe lights. It is vital that this audience is aware of the availability of these types of smoke alarm devices as well as the importance of a proper escape plan.
For more information on smoke alarms for the deaf and hard of hearing, contact the Hearing and Loss Association of America at 301-657-2248 or visit http://www.hearingloss.org/.
Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin McGee advises residents to, “Test their smoke alarms monthly ensuring they are in working condition. In addition, develop and practice a home fire escape plan so everyone knows what to do should a fire occur in your home. By following these simple safety tips you gain peace of mind and needed protection in the event of a home fire.”
To learn more about working smoke alarm safety take the 2015 Fire Prevention Week Quiz, visit http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/fire-prevention-week/fire-prevention-week-quiz