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Fire Prevention Week safety tips

Posted 10/3/2011   Updated 9/26/2011 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Col. Anthony Higdon
96th Civil Engineer Group


10/3/2011 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The base fire department, along with fire departments across the nation, commemorates National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9 -15.

Uncontrolled fire can destroy homes, possessions and lives. Fire Prevention Week is a time to check evacuation plans at home and the workplace to ensure the safety of loved ones and co-workers.

This year's campaign "Protect your family from fire" is designed to educate people about the importance of protecting their families from fire. Eglin's fire protection flight along with the National Fire Protection Association provided some facts and figures along with some ideas to "protect your family from fire."

In 2009, home fires were reported every 87 seconds, killing 2,565 people, injuring 12,650 and causing $7.6 billion in direct damage. Many fatalities, injuries and property losses can be prevented by planning ahead and integrating fire safe behaviors into your daily activities.

Sprinklers:
If building or remodeling a home, consider installing home fire sprinklers. The risk of dying in a home fire is roughly 80 percent less when sprinklers are present. Sprinklers reduce the average home property loss by roughly 71percent per fire.

Home escape planning:
Make sure the house has working smoke alarms and everyone knows the sound they make. Sit down and plan a fire escape drill so you'll be prepared to get out quickly in the event of a fire.
When the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Plan two ways out of every room and pick an outside meeting place, at least 75 feet from the residence. Practice the fire escape drill at least twice a year. One of those drills should be at night when the family is asleep. That is the most difficult time to egress the family from the home.

Smoke alarms:
Almost two-thirds of reported home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, installing both or a combination alarm is recommended. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least twice a year.

A good time to remember to change your batteries is when you "spring forward" or "fall back". If the alarm "chirps," replace the battery right away. Replace all alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested. Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory i.e. UL or FM. For practical safety tips and prevention advice, log on to www.firepreventionweek.org to access a wealth of information including a special fire prevention week checklist. See how small actions can make a big difference in protecting your family from fire.



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