This week, Oct. 3-9 is Fire Prevention Week and the 2010 theme is “Beep! Beep! Beep! Smoke Alarms: A sound you can live with.”
There’s nothing more important than to have an early notification of a fire, especially if it’s in the home. This year’s fire prevention & fire safety issue that is being highlighted is the importance of having working, operational smoke detectors.
In 2009, fire departments in the United States responded to an estimated 1,348,500 fires. These fires resulted in 3,010 civilian fire fatalities. About 80 percent of the fatalities occurred in the home between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. There was a civilian fire death every 175 minutes and a civilian fire injury every 31 minutes in 2009. In addition, there were 17,050 civilian fire injuries and an estimated $12,531,000,000 in direct property loss. These statistics are alarming to say the least.
There is a simple list of steps or guidelines that could possibly save you or your loved ones in the event of a fire in the home. By taking a little time out with your family to go over and practice these procedures will ensure that everyone knows what to do if or when a smoke alarm is sounded. The early notification of a fire gives you the needed time to escape with smoke alarms which are credited for saving approximately 8,000 lives each year, Stoll said.
Placement of smoke alarms:
•Should occur in every level of the home, along the exit paths and in the sleeping areas.
Installation of smoke alarm:
•Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
•Ceiling mounted alarms should not be installed near air vents or ceiling fans.
•If detectors are wall mounted, install between 2 and 4 inches below the ceiling on the wall to avoid the dead air space.
•Test smoke alarms monthly, and change alkaline batteries twice a year. Lithium batteries may last up to 10 years.
•Mark the detector with the date installed.
Here are some additional items in that simple list of steps or guidelines that should be gone over with along with smoke alarms in the home.
•Plan and discuss with your family two ways out of every sleeping area in your home.
•Secondary escape routes from the sleeping areas may include windows.
•Insure bedroom windows open easily for quick use. During a fire, never hesitate to break a window if it will not open. Throw a blanket over the window ledge to help prevent cuts.
•Encourage residents to sleep with their bedroom doors closed. This prevents the room from filling with heat and smoke as quickly.
•Check the doors for heat before opening. If the door is hot, don’t open it. You must use the secondary escape route.
•If there is smoke in the room, crawl low near the floor to reach your exit.
•Have a designated meeting place outside your home where everyone can meet after exiting.
•Never go back inside a burning home.
Things that may be needed:
•ABC fire extinguisher for kitchen and garage.
•Escape ladder for upper levels of the home.
•Quality power strips and extension cords.
•New smoke detectors to replace ones five to 10 years old
•Artificial battery operated candles to replace the open flame candles in our youths’ bedrooms.
•Carbon monoxide detectors.
Help make sure that every home has the appropriate amount of working detectors to keep your family, your community, and co-workers safe from fire. It is encourage that you practice these fire prevention & fire safety steps with your family, and if you need further assistance contact your local community fire department with any questions you may have.