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New IAFC Toolkit Helps Fire Service Leaders Educate Departments and Communities on Smoke Alarm Placement

In an effort to reduce home fire fatalities, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) today introduces 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 (a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security), with the support of the IAFC’s Fire and Life Safety Section.

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 the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The toolkit will reside online and contain:

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

“As fire service leaders, we are 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, fire chief with the North Las Vegas Fire Department. “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 NFPA reports that almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. In addition, most homes do not have enough working alarms. Both the 2007 and 2010 editions of NFPA 72®, the national smoke alarm code, require smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of a home. However, survey results show that only about two out of five households have alarms in all bedrooms.

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.”

To access the toolkit, visit www.SmartAlarmChoices.org.

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