Don’t Get Burned; What to Know About Fire and Fire Prevention Week
Broward College students Alex Huaman, Marie Rattigan, Kaylia Robinson and Jefferson Dejesus acted swiftly to extinguish a fire at Central Campus in May. The four were the first to respond to the blaze, estimated between four and six feet.
They took the appropriate measures of alerting fellow students and staff, evacuating the building and contacting the fire department. A matter of seconds can make the difference between mild damages and extensive devastation. Preventing a fire is just as important as knowing what to do when one sparks up.
That is why Fire Prevention Week has become such an important learning tool since its inception in 1922. The longest running public health and safety observance on record began in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The tragic event killed more than 250, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.
This year Fire Prevention Week, celebrated annually during the week of Oct. 9 to 15, will have the theme “Don’t Wait-Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.” Here’s how to care for your smoke alarm:
- If you happen to hear that annoying chirp every so often, chances are you need to replace the batteries on your smoke detector A few dollars for new batteries could one day save you thousands of dollars and potential heartache, as smoke alarms are early indicators of fire.
- Did you know there were two basic types of smoke detectors? Ionization detectors contain radioactive material that ionizes the air, making an electrical path. Photoelectric detectors contain a light source (usually a bulb) and a photocell, which is activated by light.
- Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years and ideally tested once a month, meaning it’s crucial to know how old your detectors are within the residence. The manufacturing date is usually on the back of the detector.
- Keep the detectors from fireplaces and wood stoves to avoid those false alarms.
- When you are dusting the residence, don’t forget to clean the alarms.
- Even if you think the color of the alarm clashes with the rest of the home, never paint them.
- Smoke detectors should be placed in specific places of your home where fire could occur and where you are most vulnerable, like your kitchen or your bedroom.
- Proper mounted detectors should be at least 18 inches away from dead air space near walls and corners.
- The American Red Cross reports 60 percent of house fire casualties occur in households with no working fire alarms. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the death rate per 100 reported home fires is more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms compared to the rate in homes with working smoke alarms.
While having a smoke detector helps us all sleep at night, let’s hope we never have to hear its screeching sound for any other reason than poor cooking skills. To help prevent a fire, and that ear-piercing alarm sound, check out our fire infographic…it’s hot.