October brings Fire Prevention Week|
by Carl Bergquist
Air University Public Affairs
10/4/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With," is this year's theme for Fire Prevention Week, Sunday - Oct. 9, and Maxwell-Gunter fire personnel have a full lineup of events for the occasion.
Chief James Smith, Maxwell's assistant chief of fire prevention, said the events will concentrate on making people aware of the value of smoke alarms.
"Having smoke detectors that are functional in your homes and sleeping areas can make all the difference in getting out of a burning structure alive," he said. "It is important to check your alarms regularly to be sure they are working, and if a smoke alarm goes off, immediately call 911 so we can handle the problem."
The National Fire Protection Association's website provides information concerning the operation and importance of smoke alarms, and the site also gives the following statistics:
A 2008 survey found that 96 percent of U.S. households had at least one smoke alarm, yet in 2003-2006, no smoke alarms were present or none operated in two out of every five reported home fires.
Almost two-thirds of reported home fire deaths in 2003-2006 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms, and when smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because their batteries are missing, disconnected or dead.
The NFPA site says each year, nearly 3,000 people die in home fires, and smoke alarms "cut in half" the risk of dying in a reported fire. During the 2003-2006 timeframe, two-thirds of the deaths occurred in homes that had no smoke detectors or the detectors were non-operational.
Chief Smith said this year, the fire department wants to reach as many people as possible to educate them about the importance of smoke alarms.
"We will be handing out and will have pamphlets available in all lodging facilities and base dormitories to help reach the base and Air Force community," he said. "During Fire Prevention Week, we will also be visiting the Pinnacle Community Center, and have displays at the Maxwell and Gunter commissaries, as well as the Maxwell Base Exchange."
For more information about Fire Prevention Week, call Chief Smith at 953-7470, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.