October 9-15 is Fire Prevention Week, a campaign from the National Fire Protection Association. This week is all about making people aware of the dangers of fire, and putting in place a plan and contigencies in case of an emergency.
This year, the Associations campaign is “Don’t Wait-Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.” This is the 3rd year in a row that they are promoting smoke alarm safety. That’s because it is such a large issue. The Association states that only a small percentage of people even know how old their alarms are or that they need to be replaced every 10 years.
Change your smoke alarm
If you’re not sure how old your smoke alarm is, take it off the ceiling and look at the date of manufacture on the back. If it’s over 10 years old or approaching that date, it’s time to replace it.
Smoke alarms are a great tool to have, but they should not be completely relied upon. If a fire starts in a room without an alarm, a closed door could prevent the alarm from sounding right away. Have an alarm in every room, as well as outside each room.
Here are some additional tips from the NFPA website.
Consider Fire Sprinklers
The NFPA also has an initiative to promote fire sprinklers in homes.
Take a look at the infographic above. There are two big numbers you should take notice of:
- Sprinklers can reduce average property loss per home by about 70%
- Sprinklers cut the risk of dying in a home fire by about 80%
Those are numbers to really think about when you’re considering home fire safety measures you’d like to take.
Make a fire escape plan
In school, we run through fire drills every year. But have you ever done one at your own home? It’s important to take an hour or two to plan ahead. If an emergency ever occurs, you won’t even need to think, you will know just what you have to do to get everyone out.
One of the first steps is to walk everyone though the house so all possible exits and escape plans are known. Don’t rely on just one exit, as it could become blocked off during a fire. Do another walk through and make sure each person can reiterate the escape routes.
Determine an outside meeting place, maybe it’s a stop sign nearby or your neighbor’s mailbox. Ensure that it is far enough away from the home so as to be out of danger.
The NFPA put together a fire escape plan guide and tip sheet that you can download here.
Fire Safety & Seniors
The NFPA has a special section just for assisting those ages 65 and older with fire prevention and planning.
It’s important that older residents try to avoid living in the highest part of the building or home. If you’re in an apartment, the best place for you in case of a fire is the lowest level making your escape route much easier. Also look out for apartments that have automatic sprinkler systems that can extinguish fires.
Know where you can and can’t exit. Some buildings and homes have locked doors that can’t be exited through. Know where you have to go in case of an emergency, and have a back up route if possible in case your first choice is blocked.