Oct
03

Chicago Tragedy Spurs Nationwide Safety Week

October 03, 2010

It is Fire Prevention Week.

Can you name the incident in Chicago history that inspired Fire Prevention Week?

Of course, it was the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which killed more than 250, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.

Change Battery on your Smoke AlarmThe fire began on October 8, but did most of its damage on October 9. Fire Prevention Week was created in 1922 to commemorate the tragic event and bring awareness to the importance of fire safety.

The safety week is observed on the Sunday through Saturday in which October 9 falls, and that is this week.

The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have named this year’s campaign, “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!”

Smoke alarms are essential in any home, but they need to be property installed, well maintained and in good working order.

“By now, most families know that smoke alarms are a vitally important element of home fire safety, and have at least one,” said Larry Matkaitis, Illinois State Fire Marshal. “Unfortunately, far fewer people are familiar with some of the newer recommendations for smoke alarms. Without incorporating these updated measures, many families may not be as well protected from fire as they think.”

The Illinois State Fire Marshal recommends:

*You should have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, including the basement, as well as in every sleeping room and outside every sleeping area.

*There are ionization and photoelectric alarms. Ionization alarms are more responsive to a flaming fire, like a pan fire. Photoelectric alarms respond better to a smoldering fire, like a lit cigarette dropped on a sofa. Your alarms should be a combination of both.

*Whatever smoke alarm you install, it should carry the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

*Interconnected smoke alarms are best: When one sounds, they all do. This is most important in larger or multi-story homes.

*Manufacturers have been producing wireless alarms and hard-wired multiple-station alarms, which should be installed by a licensed electrician.

*An electrician can also replace your existing hard-wired smoke alarms with wireless interconnection capabilities.

*Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.

*If an alarm chirps to warn that the battery is low, replace the battery right away.

*Replace all smoke alarms before they are 10 years old.

For more information, visit www.state.il.us/osfm.

Categories: Education

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