DOWNEY - In an effort to educate communities throughout the United States about smoke alarm recommendations, the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association is promoting "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With," as the theme for this year's Fire Prevention Month in October, which the Downey Fire Department is support locally.The NFPA has been the official sponsor of fire prevention educational programs for 88 years. "Many homes in Downey may not have any smoke alarms, not enough smoke alarms, or smoke alarms that are not working," said Jeff Turner, fire chief at the Downey Fire Department. "We want residents to understand that working smoke alarms are needed in every home, one every level (including the basement), outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom. "And, if a smoke alarm is 10 years old or older, it needs to be replaced." According to Turner, smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire. NFPA statistics show that functioning smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire nearly in half, but they must be working properly to do so. The association's data shows that many homes have smoke alarms that are not working or maintained properly, usually because of missing, disconnected or dead batteries. Roughly two-thirds of all home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. The Downey Fire Department will be visiting elementary schools in late October and early November to promote "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With." Information will be sent home for students to share with their families in order to help Downey resident understand NFPA's smoke alarm recommendations. Through these educational, family-oriented activities, residents can learn more about the power of smoke alarms, newer options for installing and maintaining them properly, and ultimately, how to better protect their loved ones from fire, officials with the Downey Fire Department said. The NFPA and Downey Fire Department both agree that interconnected smoke alarms offer the best protection: when one smoke alarm sounds, they all do. This is particularly important in larger or multi-story homes, where the sound from distant smoke alarms may be reduced to the point that it may not be loud enough to provide proper warning, especially for sleeping people, officials said. "Most people have a sense of complacency about smoke alarms because they already have one in their homes. This program provides an excellent opportunity to re-educate people about smoke alarms, new technologies and expanded options for installation and maintenance," said Judy Comoletti, division manager for NFPA public education. "Ultimately, we want this year's campaign to serve as a call to action for households nationwide to inspect their homes to ensure that their families have the full smoke alarm protection that's recommended." The Downey Fire Department offered the following tips for making sure smoke alarms are maintained and working properly: Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button, and make sure everyone in your home knows their sound; If an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away; Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 years old, or sooner, if they do not respond properly when tested; Never remove or disable a smoke alarm. To find out more about fire prevention programs in Downey, contact the Downey Fire Department at (562) 904-7349. To learn more about "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With," go online to www.firepreventionweek.org.
********** Published: October 21, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 27