October is National Fire Prevention Month, and the Valdosta Fire Department has once again planned a variety of educational activities for residents of all ages.
One of the simplest ways for families to protect their loved ones from fire is to ensure their homes have working smoke detectors. For this reason, “Don’t Wait: Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years” is the theme for this year’s National Fire Prevention Month.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), almost two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. A properly working smoke detector may cut these fatalities in half. However, a recent NFPA survey showed that only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are or how often they need to be replaced, even though National Fire Alarm Code® requires smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years. This lack of awareness puts people at increased risk in the event of a home fire.
Smoke alarms play an essential role in fire safety, but it takes regular testing and maintenance to guarantee they are effective. The age of a smoke alarm can be determined by looking for the date of manufacture on the back or side of the alarm.
In addition to replacing smoke alarms every 10 years, citizens should remember that:
- Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home.
- Smoke alarms should be tested monthly.
- Batteries should be replaced according to manufacturer’s recommendations or twice yearly.
- Smoke alarms should be within 15 ft. of sleeping areas.
Thousands of area students are expected to hear from the VFD during National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15, and throughout the entire month, with station tours, school visits, Fire Safety House presentations, and puppet shows that reinforce fire safety behavior. At these events, students may view a fire safety video, tour the stations and fire engines, learn about the various gear firefighters use to fight fires, learn how to locate and test smoke detectors in their homes, and more.
“Fire prevention education is not just for kids, although we like to educate children early and often,” said Fire Chief Freddie Broome. “This year’s campaign is designed to educate citizens in general about the importance of having working smoke alarms and encourage people of all ages to take the steps necessary to protect their families from fire.”
Citizens are welcome to schedule a station tour to get to know their local firefighters, not only during October but throughout the year as well. Visit the VFD’s website to view scheduled events.
For more information on Fire Prevention Month or to schedule station tours or school visits, call VFD Senior Community Educator Tangela Rowe at 229-333-1835.