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New Toolkit: Smart Choices in Smoke Alarm Placement

In an effort to reduce home fire fatalities, the IAFC has introduced an online toolkit, Smart Choices for Smoke Alarm Placement.

The toolkit provides fire chiefs, fire officials and public fire educators with materials to educate themselves and their communities about the different types of residential smoke alarms and how the placement of alarms may maximize their utility. The kit was developed in conjunction with Kidde, the largest manufacturer of residential fire-safety products with the support of the IAFC's Fire and Life Safety Section.

"As fire service leaders, we're the ones who educate the public because they trust our counsel. If we want to make sure the public is adequately informed about their options in home fire safety, we need to first ensure the fire service is well educated," said IAFC President and Chairman Al Gillespie. "Many departments today have limited fire prevention and education resources. This toolkit will offer easy-to-access, ready-to-use materials that members can download for their own education as well as for use in their communities."

The toolkit emphasizes the need to have working smoke alarms on each floor of a home, in hallways and inside all sleeping area—consistent with recommendations by NFPA. The toolkit contains:

  • Key messages and statistics
  • A smoke alarm placement diagram
  • Public service announcement
  • Supporting studies
  • Facts sheets and more

The new program has already met with positive feedback from IAFC members and others. "It's outstanding when the Chief's association and industry works together for a common good," posted one IAFC member on the IAFC LinkedIn page. "Kudos to both organizations."

The NFPA reports that almost two-thirds of home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. "On average, families have less than three minutes from the time the first smoke alarm sounds to escape a fire," Gillespie added. The sooner an alarm is heard, the more time there is to respond.

"Kidde wants to ensure that every family has working smoke alarms in the right locations in the home," said Chris Rovenstine, vice president of sales and marketing, Kidde. "By partnering with the IAFC, we can help educate fire officials, who will then educate their communities."

Last month's launch is just the beginning. The site is expected to evolve as new resources are added, new technology develops and additional research is conducted. To access the toolkit, visit the Smart Alarm Choices webpage.

Ann Davison, CAE, is the strategic information manager for the IAFC.

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