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October_2016_BSJ

Fire Prevention Week: Importance of Smoke Alarms Is a Theme Worth Repeating Fire Prevention Week (FPW), a busy time for America’s Fire Service, is always observed the week of October 8, commemorating the date the Great Chicago Fire started in 1871. Thousands of fire departments across the country use the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) theme to promote fire safety throughout their communities. This year’s theme is “Don’t Wait, Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.” When I heard about this year’s theme, I, like many others, wondered why the NFPA was again using smoke alarms for their FPW theme. After all, the theme for the two previous years also focused on smoke alarms. The answer to my question came in the May/ June 2016 NFPA Journal. An article written by Lorraine Carli, Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA, explains the rationale. According to the article, one of the most frequently used NFPA statistics is that three of every five home fire deaths in the United States result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Clearly, we in the public safety arena need to keep reminding the public about the importance of working smoke alarms in homes. In the fire service, community risk-reduction programs have surfaced all around the country. These programs focus on communities—typically impoverished neighborhoods— having the highest propensities for house fires. Getting working smoke alarms into these neighborhoods can and will make a difference. In most cases, the installation of long-life, battery-powered smoke alarms has led to major reductions in fire-related deaths. These statistics gathered by the NFPA clearly show the fire service needs to expand community risk-reduction programs, and the Code Council can help. “The I-Codes include By George Michehl, Code Council Fire Service Membership Council Governing Committee OCTOBER 2016 | 21


October_2016_BSJ
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