October 3rd – 9th, 2021 is Fire Prevention Week. Fire Prevention Week is a national observance that is sponsored by the NFPA. During Fire Prevention Week, the goal is to spread awareness and educate the public about fire safety to prevent fires and fire related injuries. Every year, Fire Prevention Week is observed during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire that occurred in 1871. This fire killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.
“Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!”
The theme of Fire Prevention Week for 2021 is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!” which aims to educate about the different sounds that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make. Understanding the sounds of your alarms can help you to take action to keep you and your family safe.
A continued set of three loud beeps means there is smoke or a fire. If you hear this noise, you should get out of your home, stay out and call 9-1-1. When the battery is low on your smoke alarms, they will make a single chirp every 30-60 seconds. If you hear a chirp, replace the batteries in your alarms. After replacing the batteries if you still hear a chirp, it means the alarm is at the end of its life and needs to be replaced. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
A continuous set of four loud beeps indicates that carbon monoxide is in your home. If you hear four beeps, you should get out of your home, stay out, and call 9-1-1. If you hear a single chirp every 30-60 seconds, replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide alarms. After replacing the batteries if you still hear a chirp, it means the alarm is at the end of its life and needs to be replaced. CO alarms also have “end of life” sounds that vary by manufacturer. This means it’s time to get a new CO alarm.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms for Physical Disabilities
If you or someone in your home has a physical disability, you should make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms meet their needs. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Install a bedside alert device that responds to the sound of the smoke and CO alarms. Use of a low frequency alarm can also wake a sleeping person with mild to severe hearing loss
- Use a pillow or bed shaker alarm
- Use devices with strobe lights to alert people of smoke alarm sounds
- Sleep with your mobility device, glasses, and phone close to your bed
- Keep pathways like hallways lit with night lights and free from clutter to make sure everyone can get out safely
To learn more about Fire Prevention Week and about what you can do to spread awareness about fire safety, visit the NFPA’s website!