The 2014 Fire Prevention Month theme is “WORKING SMOKE ALARMS SAVE LIVES – TEST YOURS EVERY MONTH!”

The Monarch Fire Protection District has been busy this month with Fire Prevention Month activities including fire drills in schools and businesses, and spreading the message of fire prevention throughout the community.

According to “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires“, a report published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in March of 2014:

● Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in homes without working smoke alarms.

● The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

● Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing, disconnected or dead batteries.

● In 1/5 of all homes with smoke alarms, none are working according to a CPSC study.

● People 55 or older are more likely to have smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.

The Educational Messages Advisory Committee (EMAC) to NFPA’s Public Education Division developed the following tips for the testing and maintenance of smoke alarms.

● Choose a smoke alarm that bears the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

● Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement.

● Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home for the best protection. When one sounds, they all sound. Make sure you can hear the sound of the smoke alarm.

● Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.

● Test your smoke alarms at least every month, using the test button.

● Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm. For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year. If that smoke alarm chirps, replace only the battery.

● 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, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms, are recommended

A complete list of safety tips from NFPA’s Educational Messages Advisory Committee can be found in the 2013 edition of NFPA Educational Messages Desk Reference. NFPA also provides additional resources, including safety tips for consumers and tool kits on various topics for educators.

Remember, WORKING SMOKE ALARMS SAVE LIVES – TEST YOURS EVERY MONTH!