Fire Prevention Week Starts Oct. 5

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Do you know if your smoke alarms work?

When there’s a fire, properly working smoke alarms can save lives. That’s the takeaway from the 2014 Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!”

Along with firefighters and safety advocates nationwide, the Maplewood Fire Department is joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) during Fire Prevention Week, October 5-11, to remind local residents about the importance of having working smoke alarms in the home and testing them monthly, according to a press release from Chief Michael Dingelstedt.

According to the latest NFPA research, working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

“In a fire, seconds count,” said Dingelstedt. “Roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving everyone enough time to get out.”

This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign includes the following smoke alarm messages:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. This way, when one sounds, they all do.
  • Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they don’t respond properly.
  • Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it.

The Maplewood Fire Department will be attending activities at elementary grammar schools during Fire Prevention Week to promote “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!”

Students from kindergarten through 3rd grade will learn more about the importance of working smoke alarms and testing them monthly. On October 12, Maplewood Firefighters will be in attendance at HarvestFest, located at the Hilton Branch Library and Gazebo, to discuss fire safety with those in attendance.

The Maplewood Fire Department offers free in-home fire inspections for township residents. Firefighters will come to your home to help identify fire hazards and make suggestions to improve home safety for your family. Inspections generally take about one hour and during the inspection, some items discussed are correct placement and testing of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, fire escape planning, proper removal of fire hazards, and proper types and placement of fire extinguishers.

The history of Fire Prevention Week has its roots in the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, but lasted 27 hours and incurred the most damage the following day. It remains one of the best known fire disasters in the world. As a result, October 9, 1871, is the date most often connected with this tragic conflagration. In the end, the Great Chicago Fire killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. While the origin of the fire has never been determined, there has been much speculation over how it began. One popular legend was that Mrs. Catherine O’Leary was milking her cow when the animal kicked over a lamp, setting the O’Leary’s barn on fire and starting the spectacular blaze.

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. Dedicated to raising public awareness about the dangers of fire and how to prevent it, the National Fire Prevention Association, or NFPA, is the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme isWorking Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month.


To learn more about smoke alarms and “Working Smoke Alarms Saves Lives”, visit NFPA’s Web site at


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