In an effort to better educate people 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 Week campaign Oct. 3-9.
Rural/Metro Fire Department is supporting the effort locally.
"Many homes in Pima County may not have any smoke alarms, not enough smoke alarms, alarms that are too old, or alarms that are not working," said Anne-Marie Braswell, public information officer of the Rural/Metro Fire Department. "We want residents to understand that working smoke alarms are needed in every home, on 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."
NFPA statistics show that working 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 aren't 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.
Rural/Metro is hosting "mini-musters" for second-grade children during October to promote "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!"
NFPA and Rural/Metro agree that interconnected smoke alarms offer the best protection; when one 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 individuals.
Smoke alarm tips
Rural/Metro Fire Department offers 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're 10 years old (or sooner) if they do not respond properly when tested;
• Never remove or disable a smoke alarm.
To learn more about "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!," visit NFPA's Web site at www. firepreventionweek.org.