October is Fire Prevention Month in the Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) fire protection district. The annual awareness campaign is in conjunction with the National Fire Protection Agency’s Fire Prevention Week, which is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.
This year, NFPA is putting the focus on smoke alarm safety, encouraging residents to hear the beep when they sleep. Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms, according to the organization. In addition, half of these home fire deaths resulted from fires reported at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep.
“Simply put, working smoke alarms save lives,” CCFR Fire Chief Russ Mason says. “It sounds like such a small thing, but that little beep gives people the opportunity to escape a fire before it’s too late. We see the impact of these devices every day in our line of work.”
Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, and both inside and outside all sleeping areas. Place them as high as possible on walls or ceilings, away from air vents and windows.
CCFR encourages everyone to take two minutes on the second of every month to check their smoke alarms by pressing the test button in the center of the alarm.
CCFR and the NFPA recommend the following when it comes to smoke alarm safety:
- Replace batteries every six months, or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Replace alarms every 10 years.
- Never disable a smoke alarm if it accidentally goes off during cooking or other activities. Wave a towel to clear the air in front of the alarm during false starts, or use a hush button to silence (available on newer models).
- Do not ignore chirping or remove the battery. Instead, replace the battery immediately to ensure proper functioning.
- Consider installing a home sprinkler system when building or remodeling a home.
If you cannot reach your smoke alarm, cannot change the batteries, or have other questions about your smoke rm contact CCFR for complimentary assistance at (636) 970-9700.
Throughout the month, CCFR firefighters will present safety lessons to kindergarten through third grade classrooms throughout the fire district. Safety information will also be distributed at community events and through the district’s e-newsletter and website.