Base prepares of Fire Prevention Week

  • Published
  • By Col. David Maharrey
  • 96th Civil Engineer Group
The Eglin Air Force Base Fire Department, along with fire departments across the nation, will commemorate National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 3 - 9.

This year's campaign is designed to educate people about the importance of smoke alarms and encourages everyone to take the steps necessary to update and maintain their home smoke alarm protection. That's why the theme of Fire Prevention Week 2010 is "Beep! Beep! Beep! Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With."

Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. A 2008 survey found that 96 percent of U.S. households had at least one smoke alarm, yet in 2003-2006, no smoke alarms were present in 40 percent of the home fire deaths. In 23 percent of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound. Almost two-thirds of reported home fire deaths in 2003-2006 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. In more than half of the reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate even though the fire was large enough, batteries were missing or disconnected. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected alarms. In a 2008 telephone survey, only 12 percent knew that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.

Uncontrolled fire can destroy homes, possessions and lives. Fire Prevention Week is a time to check evacuation plans at home and in the workplace to ensure the safety of loved ones and co-workers. It is also a time to check for and eliminate hidden hazards and prepare families and co-workers for any emergency situation. Finally, it is a great time to make sure all sleeping areas are equipped with smoke detectors, checking them at least semi-annually to ensure you will be properly notified if a fire should occur.

In 2008
· U.S. fire departments responded to 386,500 home fires.
· Home fires killed 2,755 people and injured 13,160.
· Someone was injured in a reported home fire every 40 minutes.
· Roughly eight people died in home fires every day.
· A fire department responded to a home fire every 82 seconds.
· 83 percent of all fire deaths and 79 percent of fire injuries resulted from home fires.

Here are a few safety tips from the Eglin Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association:

Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
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, both types of alarms or a combination alarm (photoelectric and ionization) should be installed in homes.
Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following the manufacturer's instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling.
Replace batteries in all smoke alarms. Twice a year at daylights savings time if you have regular smoke alarms. Replace smoke detectors when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory i.e. UL etc.
Alarms that are hard-wired (and include battery back-up) must be installed by a qualified electrician.
If cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with an alarm that has a "hush" button. A "hush" button will reduce the alarm's sensitivity for a short period of time.
An ionization alarm with a hush button or a photoelectric alarm should be used if the alarm is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance.
Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement in addition to the usual alarm sound, may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice.
Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing these devices use strobe lights. Vibration devices can be added to these alarms
Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.

Be careful around things that can burn you, be aware of your surroundings and practice fire safety every day. Remember to dial 9-1-1 in case of emergency and remember your smoke alarms: Beep! Beep! Beep! Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With.

List of events for FPW:
Commander's challenge 8 a.m.
Fire muster competition 1 p.m.

Safety house and engine at Child Development Center Annex, 8:30 a.m.
Hazard house display at Eglin Elementary, 10 a.m.

Safety house and engine at Eglin Elementary, 9 a.m.
Safety awareness table base commissary, 10 a.m.

Commanders vs 1st Sgt challenge, 8 a.m.
Fire drill at Eglin Elementary, 9 a.m.
Safety house and engine at CDC Bldg 2579, 9a.m.

Auto extraction demonstration, base exchange, 11 a.m.
Safety awareness table base exchange, noon