This week is Fire Prevention Week not only in Churchill County and Nevada but also in every state and community in the United States.
This year’s theme is “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!”
For the past 90 years the National Fire Protection Association has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week to promote more focus on the hazards of fire and what steps we may take to mitigate the loss of life and property. The emphasis this year is on the importance of installing smoke alarms in key locations in the home.
Every year personnel from the Fallon Churchill Volunteer Fire Department promote Fire Prevention Week. On Thursday, firemen will visit E.C. Best and Lahontan elementary schools to talk to the students about fire prevention.
According to the NFPA, working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by 50 percent.
“Working smoke alarms can make the difference between life and death in a fire,” said NFPA’s vice president, Lorraine Carli.
NFPA’s goal is to have residents install smoke alarms in every bedroom and outside every sleeping area and on every level of the home. In its “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires,” the NFPA stresses the importance of having working smoke alarms:
An average of 940 deaths per year occurred in homes with no smoke alarms, while an additional 510 occurred in homes with smoke alarms that failed to operate. This accounts for 59 percent of all home fire deaths.
The death rate in homes without alarms or without working ones was 1.18 deaths per 100 reported fires, compared to only 0.53 in homes with working devices.
Alarms operated correctly 87 percent of the time in reported fires large enough to activate them. Power source problems are the leading cause of smoke alarm failures. Hardwired devices were more likely to operate than those that were battery-powered.
The lowest death rate was seen in homes that contained both hardwired smoke alarms and sprinklers.
When homes did have working smoke alarms, victims were more likely to have been located in the place of origin, to be 65 or older, to have a physical disability or to have tried to fight the fire themselves.
Half of all home fire death occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Having a smoke alarm that works, though, is also important. Test smoke alarms monthly and have batteries replaced at least twice a year.
A good time to check smoke alarms and change batteries is also when we set our clocks either back or ahead for standard or daylight savings time. A few minutes of prevention can save a lifetime of heartache.
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