This year's Fire Prevention Week campaign is "Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month." The campaign provides an ideal opportunity to educate the public about the importance of having working smoke alarms and testing them every month.
"Members of the fire service know that smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries," said Lorraine Carli, NFPA's vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.
"Smoke alarms have become such a common feature in U.S. homes that it is easy to take them for granted. So it's important that we continue to remind the public to make sure they have smoke alarms, that they are installed correctly and to test them each month to make sure they're working properly. It is so unfortunate when there is a fatal fire where a smoke alarm is present but does not operate, "Carli added.
According to NFPA statistics:
- Having a working smoke alarm in the home cuts the risk of dying in a fire in half.
- On average each year, three out of five home fire deaths result in fires where there are either no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- In one-quarter (23%) of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.
Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing, disconnected or dead batteries. People are most likely to remove or disconnect batteries because of nuisance activations; sometimes the chirping to warn of a low battery is interpreted as a nuisance alarm.
If a smoke alarm in the kitchen is sounding too often, the problem could be solved by moving the smoke alarm. NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, states that unless designed specifically for the area, all smoke alarms should be at least 10 feet away from cooking appliances. If space constraints make it necessary to have a smoke alarm within 10-20 feet of the kitchen stove, either a photoelectric alarm or an alarm with a hush feature that can be temporarily silenced without disabling the alarm should be used.
- Installing smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- Testing all smoke alarms every month by using the test button.
- Replacing all smoke alarms every 10 years or sooner if they don't respond properly when tested.
NFPA has everything fire departments need for their public education programs, including How-to guides, media materials and safety tips for adults.
Visit FPW.org for more information on Fire Prevention Week and this year's campaign theme, Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!