National Fire Prevention Week (October 9-15, 2016)
This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” represents the final year of our three-year effort to educate the public about basic but essential elements of smoke alarm safety.
Why focus on smoke alarms three years in a row? Because NFPA’s survey data shows that the public has many misconceptions about smoke alarms, which may put them at increased risk in the event of a home fire. For example, only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced.
As a result of those and related findings, we’re addressing smoke alarm replacement this year with a focus on these key messages:
- Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
- Make sure you know how old all the smoke alarms are in your home.
- To find out how old a smoke alarm is, look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm; the alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.
Fire Safety Tips
- Plan for a safe refuge in case you cannot escape from the house. This is a room where all of the family can gather to wait to be rescued. Take the following precautions:
- Make sure there is a phone in the room to call for help
- Try to have a room with a window so you can either escape or call out for help (stay by the window)
- Close the door and seal the bottom with towels or blankets to stop harmful smoke entering
- Call the emergency services
- Dial 911
- Tell the operator what service you require.
- Speak calmly and clearly giving the address of the fire and your phone number. (If using a mobile phone the operator may ask what county you are in)
- Only hang up when the operator tells you to
- Re-enter a burning house for personal items
- Borrow batteries from the Smoke Alarm
- Have mirrors over fireplaces with real fires
Together We Can STOP Fire
STOP stands for:
- S - is for Smoke alarms. Make sure you have at least one on every level/floor.
- T - is for Test your smoke alarms weekly or ask someone to check it for you.
- O - is for Obvious dangers. Look out for fire risks like overloaded sockets, candles and unattended appliances.
- P - is for Plan your escape route. Keep access routes clear and have your keys at the ready.
- Smoking when tired
- Leaving burning candles unattended
- Leaving young children unattended
- Leaving matches and lighters where children can get them
- Leaving chip pans, frying pans, etc unattended
- Standing too close to fires, heaters, etc
- Using faulty electrical appliances
- Overloading sockets
Make sure to:
- Have your chimney cleaned at least once a year
- Use a sparkguard with open fires
- Use proper holders when burning candles
- Keep ashtrays empty when not in use
- Have a suitable fire extinguisher and fire blanket in your kitchen
- Have faulty electrical appliances repaired or replaced immediately
- Close all doors at night time
Carry out a routine fire safety check before going to bed
Make sure to:
- Have at least one Smoke Alarm (on the ceiling) on every level in your home
- Test your smoke alarms at least once a week
- Change the batteries every year
- When the warning beep sounds change the battery immediately
Planning Your Escape Route
If a fire occurs in your home you may have to get out in dark and difficult conditions. This can be especially challenging if members of your family are very young, older or infirm. Escaping from a fire will be a lot easier if you have already planned your escape route and know where to go:
- Involve everyone in the house, including visitors to your home
- The normal way out is the preferred choice
- Keep your escape route clear of obstructions
- Keep keys to doors and windows immediately available
- Protect your escape route by closing all doors into it, especially at night
- Practise using the agreed plan
- Select a safe meeting place outside
- Make everyone aware of how to call the fire service
If you are unable to use the normal way out, consider alternative routes:
- Rear doors
- Patio doors
Make sure everyone is aware of these alternatives. If you discover a fire, or the smoke alarm sounds, you will only have a short time to get out. If possible:
- Close the door of the room where the fire is
- Get everyone out as quickly as possible and stay out
- Telephone the fire service on 911 from a neighbour's house or mobile phone
- Never go back into a house until the fire service says it is safe to do so
If you are cut off by fire, try to remain calm:
- Close the door and use towels or sheets to block any gaps
- Try to make your way to the window
- If the room becomes smoky, crawl along the floor
Open the window and try to attract the attention of others
Obvious Dangers – Do a Routine Fire Safety Check
Walk around your house with a view to keeping your home safe and secure.
- Unplug all unnecessary electrical appliances.
- Turn off all unnecessary gas appliances.
- Make sure all candles and naked flames are extinguished.
- Place a sparkguard in front of any open fire.
- Empty all ashtrays.
- Are all escape routes completely clear of obstructions?
Close all doors to reduce the spread of fire and smoke.