You are finallly retired, you’ve chosen a great community, and now you are living in your new home – whew! But before you relax completely, make sure you get to enjoy your new lifestyle for a long time by taking some basic safety precautions. Every year, more than 3,000 people die in home fires in the United States; most of whom are in homes without a working smoke alarm. To prevent these deaths, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is sponsoring a nationwide Install. Inspect. Protect. Campaign designed to raise awareness about how working, properly installed smoke alarms can lower a person’s chances of dying in a fire.
The USFA’s Install. Inspect. Protect. Campaign is aimed at encouraging Americans to practice fire safety by 1) installing and maintaining smoke alarms and residential fire sprinklers, which can help save the lives of residents and fire fighters, 2) practicing fire escape plans, and 3) performing a home safety walk-through to remove fire hazards from the home. Install. Inspect. Protect. also recognizes firefighters and stresses the fact that the children of firefighters want their fathers and mothers to come home safely.
When both smoke alarms and fire sprinklers are present in a home, the risk of dying in a fire is reduced by 82 percent, when compared to a residence without either. According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2003-2006, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
The USFA offers a few helpful tips on smoke alarms and sprinklers:
o Place properly installed and maintained smoke alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas and on every level of your home.
o Get smoke alarms that can sound fast. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.
o Test smoke alarms monthly and change alkaline batteries at least once every year, or as instructed. You can use a date you already know, like your birthday or when you change your clocks as a reminder.
o If possible, install residential fire sprinklers in your home.
o Avoid painting or covering the fire sprinkler, because that will affect the sensitivity to heat.
o Don’t do what our parents did in their active adult condo. After a false alarm caused by burning food in the oven, they sealed their smoke alarm with a shower cap. Message to the children – better to burn up than be embarrassed!
For more information on the Install. Inspect. Protect. Campaign and other fire prevention information, please visit www.usfa.dhs.gov/smokealarms. Remember to Install. Inspect. Protect…Smoke Alarms Save Lives.