Prevention and Education
While I was frantically trying to put together my November fire prevention tip reminding folks to “Change Your Clock, Change Your Batteries,” I came across the photo below on the Avon Fire & Rescue website that is a powerful reminder as to the importance of doing this simple, yet often ignored task.
Roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Why is it that when working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in home fires in half, residents still choose to take the batteries out of smoke alarms because of “annoying chirping sounds,” or fail to change the batteries regularly, or replace aging smoke detectors?
Smoke alarms provide a warning that fire has broken out and could give occupants vital extra minutes to escape, especially at night. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Just two or three breaths of toxic smoke from a fire can cause a person to lose consciousness.
The National Fire Protection Association offers the following tips about smoke alarms:
Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or a combination alarm (photoelectric and ionization) should be installed in homes.
Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling. Save manufacturer's instructions for testing and maintenance.
Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps”, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
Alarms that are hard-wired (and include battery backup) must be installed by a qualified electrician.
If cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with an alarm that has a "hush" button. A "hush" button will reduce the alarm’s sensitivity for a short period of time.
An ionization alarm with a hush button or a photoelectric alarm should be used if the alarm is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance.
Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement in addition to the usual alarm sound, may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice.
Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These devices use strobe lights. Vibration devices can be added to these alarms.
Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.
Public Education Officer
Fire Safety Education
West Point Fire Protection District is proud to assist in educating our communities in fire safety. It isn't just the children at the elementary school who can benefit from fire safety education. Did you know that nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes without working smoke detectors? And during winter months, one of the leading causes of home fires is due to heating equipment.
Every year families lose their homes and possessions to wildfire. These losses can be minimized if homeowners take preventive measures and learn how to protect their property. And something as simple as making your address visible during both day and night can assist firefighters in finding you faster in an emergency.
Fire safety education is for everyone. If you or your organization or group has questions or would like to have a fire safety visit, please contact us.
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