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October is National Fire Prevention Month
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Safe Kids Georgia urges families to check their smoke alarms and practice their home fire safety drill
Working smoke alarms reduce the chances of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent per Safe Kids Worldwide and they are a critical first step for staying safe, but in order to be effective, they need to be working properly. For the best protection, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that smoke alarms are installed in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
If you’re like most families, you’re probably not sure when your smoke alarms expire. To find out how old your smoke alarm is and its expiration date, simply look on the back of the alarm where the date of manufacture is marked. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase). Smoke alarms should also be tested monthly and batteries replaced at least once per year.
“Time and again, I’ve seen the life-saving impact smoke alarms can have in a home fire, but I’ve also seen the tragedy that can result when smoke alarms aren’t working properly,” says Beverly Losman, Director of Safe Kids Georgia. “That’s why we’re making a concerted effort to educate Georgia residents about the overall importance of smoke alarms, and that they do have a life limit.”
Fire experts agree that during a home fire, working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives. It only takes two minutes for a fire to fill a home with black smoke or engulf it in flames. Less than one in five families (18 percent) with children ages 3-17 have actually practiced home fire drills, and less than half of parents (48 percent) have talked to their families about fire safety.
To culminate Fire Prevention Week (October 9 – 15), Safe Kids Georgia is joining in the promotion of National Home Fire Drill Day on October 15 to raise awareness about the importance of and creating and practicing a home fire escape plan and fire safety.
For more information on home fire escape planning or this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.” visit www.homefiredrillday.com or www.firepreventionweek.org.