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Fire Chief's Message
Smoke Alarms - How do you know that yours works?
When was the last time you tested the smoke alarms in your home? Was it last week? Last month? A year ago?
If you are like many people, you may not even remember. Smoke alarms are such a common feature of U.S. households that we take them for granted and forget that they need regular testing and maintenance. The smoke alarms did not work at 1421 Kentucky and almost took the lives of two young women. One of the women, Brianne, tells her story in this video Surviving a Fire – Brianne’s Story.
Working smoke alarms are a critical fire safety tool that can mean the difference between life and death in a home fire. According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), smoke alarms can reduce the chance of dying in a home fire in half. Meanwhile, NFPA data shows that home fires killed more than 2,300 people in 2012; many of these deaths could have been prevented with the proper smoke alarm protection.
As a member of the fire service, I have seen the devastating effects of fire first-hand; the burn injuries and the loss of homes and possessions are distressing. What is even worse is witnessing a family’s anguish after a loved one has been killed in a fire. It is heartbreaking.
As the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week, October 5-11, 2014, NFPA is promoting "Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!" to better educate the public about the true value of working smoke alarms. In support of these efforts, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Department is encouraging all residents to follow these simple steps to help make a difference, and prevent the potentially life-threatening impact of fire.
Here are tips to follow:
- 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.
- Test alarms each month by pushing the test button.
- Replace smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly. This includes both hard-wired and battery operated smoke alarms.
- Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound and understands what to do when they hear the smoke alarm.
To learn more about the "Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!" campaign, visit NFPA’s Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org, or contact Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical for assistance. We are committed to saving and protecting lives and property – especially yours!
Chief Mark Bradford