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Fire Prevention Month- October 2016

In conjunction with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the County of Los Angeles Fire Department will recognize October 2016 as Fire Prevention Month in Los Angeles County.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,”

Did you know that roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep?

Smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. In fact, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half!

When it comes to smoke alarms, it’s about “location, location, location”.

What types of smoke alarms can I buy?

There are many brands of smoke alarms on the market, but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.

Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms detect different types of fires. Since no one can predict what type of fire might start in their home, the USFA recommends that every home and place where people sleep have:

  • Both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms. OR
  • Dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.

There are also alarms for people with hearing loss. These alarms may have strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to alert those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.

What powers a smoke alarm?

Smoke alarms are powered by battery or by your home’s electrical system. If the smoke alarm is powered by battery, it runs on either a disposable nine-volt battery or a non-replaceable 10-year lithium (“long-life”) battery. Alarms that get power from your home’s electrical system, or “hardwired,” usually have a back-up battery that will need to be replaced once a year.

Where do I put smoke alarms in my home?

  • Put smoke alarms on every floor of your home. Also, in every bedroom and in the hallway outside of each sleeping area.
  • Choose smoke alarms that communicate with each other, so that if one alarm sounds they all will.
  • Place smoke alarms on the ceiling or high on the wall. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the best place for your alarm.
  • Only qualified electricians should install hardwired smoke alarms.

Some fire departments will install battery-operated smoke alarms in your home at no cost. Contact your local fire department’s non-emergency phone number for more information.

What do I do if my smoke alarm sounds while I'm cooking?

Never take the battery out of your smoke alarm while cooking! If a smoke alarm sounds while you’re cooking or taking a shower with lots of steam, do not remove the battery. You should:

  • Open a window or door
  • Wave a towel at the alarm to clear the air.

Disabling a smoke alarm or removing the battery can be a deadly mistake.

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As a family, complete the Fire Prevention Week Checklist. If all boxes are checked, CONGRATULATIONS.  If there are some    boxes not checked, work together to help improve your family’s safety.

  • Do you have working smoke alarm on every level of your home?
  • Do you have working smoke alarms inside every bedroom?
  • Do you know the sound of your smoke alarms?
  • Are your smoke alarms less than 10 years old? (Look on the back of smoke alarms for the date. If they are more than 10 years old, you need new ones.)
  • Does your family have a home fire escape plan?
  • Do you know two ways out of every room?
  • Does your plan have an outside meeting place?
  • Does your family have a fire drill at least twice a year?
  • Does everyone at home know how to call the fire department once they are outside?
  • Do you get outside and stay outside if the smoke alarm sounds?

By sharing this essential information our goal is to ensure that families are more knowledgeable and prepared in preventing and surviving a home fire.