Wake Up and Smell the Smoke!

Issue 3 and Volume 156.

By Mark Chubb The furor accompanying recent news reports that children sleep through bleating smoke alarm horns1,2 highlights a very serious and persistent problem: Firefighters, like the public, know too little about fire safety. This story and the faint echoes of shocked firefighters following it are wake-up calls to the American fire service. We must get a better handle on fire protection and fire prevention beginning with an understanding of how smoke alarms have helped halve the risk of dying in a household fire. An appreciation of fire-related human behavior that looks beyond what people do in fires toward why they do it will make a good start. The fact that kids sleep through smoke alarms comes as no surprise to anyone with a teenager, let alone anyone who was one. If most kids can sleep through earthquakes quite comfortably, why should the whine of a smoke alarm merit more…

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