SPRINGFIELD – The Office of the State Fire Marshal echoes the initiatives of the National Fire Protection Association during National Fire Prevention Week.
This year’s emphasis is on the importance of having working smoke alarms installed in every home, school, business or other public facilities. This year’s theme, “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month,” reminds the public that having smoke alarms can prevent personal injuries and human losses.
“A fire can break out at any time. I urge Illinois residents to have smoke alarms installed and test them every month,” State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis said. “During this week families should take a few minutes to inspect smoke alarms and replace batteries immediately as a measure to prevent fire tragedies.”
NFPA implemented the national fire prevention week more than 90 years ago in an effort to engage the public in proactive activities destined to put in practice basic fire safety measures. From Oct. 5–11, families should practice fire escape plans, teach children to identify the sound of the smoke alarms and act immediately upon its sound. Smoke alarms are proven to make a difference between life and death if they are properly functioning.
According to NFPA, having a working smoke alarm in the home cuts the risk of dying in a fire in half. On average each year, three out of five home fires deaths are a result in fires where there were no smoke alarms present or non-working smoke alarms.
• Installing smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
• Testing all smoke alarms every month by using the test button.
• Replacing all smoke alarms every 10 years or sooner if they don’t respond properly when tested.
• Designate two escape routes from each bedroom and practice them regularly.
• Change the batteries in every smoke alarm at least twice per year.
• Teach everyone the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” technique in case clothing catches on fire.
• Avoid storing old mattresses in the home or garage.
• Teach children that matches, lighters and candles are tools, not toys. Store them in a safe place away from the reach of children.
For information on fire prevention and the use of smoke alarms, visit www.sfm.illinois.gov or www.fpw.org.