In an effort to increase public awareness about current smoke alarm recommendations and the importance of proactive fire escape planning, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is joining with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to promote “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!” as the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week, October 3–9, 2010. NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for 88 years.
On average, eight people die in a home fire each day in the United States – almost 3,000 people every year. NFPA statistics show that working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire nearly in half, but alarms must be working properly to do so. Roughly two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms, according to the NFPA’s data.
“New technology for smoke alarms and stronger recommendations for their use now provide greater levels of home fire protection than ever before,” says Brett Brenner, president of the Electrical Safety Foundation International. “Unfortunately, many people are unaware of these advances and lack the recommended number of alarms, or they may be relying on outdated or nonfunctional devices. Taking just ten minutes this week to check existing alarms and install new ones if necessary will help protect you and your family in the case of a fire.”
ESFI offers the following tips for making sure smoke alarms are installed and working properly:
- Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- For the best protection, smoke alarms should be interconnected, so that they all sound if one sounds. Manufacturers are now producing battery operated alarms that are interconnected wirelessly.
- Test smoke alarms on a monthly basis by pressing the “TEST” button.
- Batteries for battery-operated or battery back-up alarms should be replaced at least once a year.
- If an alarm “chirps” or “beeps” at any time to indicate a low battery, it should be replaced immediately.
- ll smoke alarms should be replaced at least every ten years or sooner if indicated by the manufacturer’s instructions.
“Working smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a home fire, but there is more you need to do to ensure your family is prepared to safely escape from a fire emergency,” reminds Brenner. “Fire Prevention Week is an excellent time to review important electrical and fire safety practices with your family.”
ESFI has developed a number of resources to help ensure your home and your family is prepared before a fire emergency happens. These Fire Prevention Week materials can be downloaded at no cost from ESFI’s website. For more information about Fire Prevention Week, visit ESFI’s Web site at www.electrical-safety.org and NFPA’s Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org.