Fire Safety Knowledge from the National Fire Protection Association
Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance and falls every year on the week through October 9th.
Fire Prevention Week was established by our American neighbors to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.
On the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (today known as the International Fire Marshals Association), decided that the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire should be honoured by keeping the public informed about the importance of fire prevention. Since then, Fire Prevention Week has been celebrated every October.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” represents the final year of the three-year effort to educate the public about basic, but essential elements of smoke alarm safety.
Smoke Alarm Facts:
Three out of five home fire deaths in 2009-2013 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 94% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated 80% of the time.
When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
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, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.
Tips for Fire Alarm Safety:
Identify smoke alarm’s date of manufacture: Remove the alarm from the ceiling or wall. Look at the back or side of the alarm for the date of manufacture.
To replace (battery-powered): remove the smoke alarm from the ceiling by twisting the alarm to remove it from the ceiling plate. It is best to replace the alarm with the same manufactured alarm. The new alarm from the same manufacturer can be placed on the ceiling or wall plate. Twist to secure the alarm. Test the alarm to be sure it is working.
If new alarm is from a different manufacturer, you will need to remove the old ceiling plate and install the new ceiling place included with the new alarm. Place the alarm over the ceiling plate and twist to secure. Test the alarm to be sure it is working.
To replace (hard-wired alarm): If you know how to work with electrical wiring, follow manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you have turned off the electricity to the smoke alarm before you begin replacing the alarm. Otherwise, contact a qualified electrician to replace hard-wired smoke alarms.