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Fire prevention week to reinforce smoke alarm safety
Col. Manson Morris, 436th Airlift Wing commander, signs the Fire Prevention Week Proclamation, as Brian Cullen, 436th Civil Engineers Squadron assistant fire chief, and Sparky look on at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Sept. 27, 2010. Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 3 - 9, 2010, and will focus on fire safety and prevention. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jason Minto/Released)
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Fire prevention week to reinforce smoke alarm safety

Posted 10/1/2010   Updated 10/1/2010 Email story   Print story


10/1/2010 - Dover Air Force Base, Del. -- In an effort to better educate communities throughout the U.S. about smoke alarm recommendations, the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association is promoting "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!" as the theme for this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign, October 3-9, which Dover Air Force Base is supporting locally. NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for 88 years.

"Many homes may not have any smoke alarms, not enough smoke alarms, alarms that are too old, or alarms that are not working," says Brian Cullen, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant fire chief. "We want residents to understand that working smoke alarms are needed in every home, on every level - including the basement - outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom. And, if a smoke alarm is 10 years old or older, it needs to be replaced."

According to Mr. Cullen, smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire. NFPA statistics show that working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire nearly in half. But they must be working properly to do so. The association's data shows that many homes have smoke alarms that aren't working or maintained properly, usually because of missing, disconnected or dead batteries. Roughly two-thirds of all home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Dover AFB Fire and Emergency Services will be hosting activities during Fire Prevention Week to promote "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!" to help base residents understand NFPA's smoke alarm recommendations. Through educational and family-oriented activities residents can learn more about the power of smoke alarms, newer options for installing and maintaining them properly, and how to better protect their loved ones from fire.

NFPA and Dover AFB Fire and Emergency Services agree that interconnected smoke alarms offer the best protection; when one sounds, they all do. This is particularly important in larger or multi-story homes, where the sound from distant smoke alarms may be reduced to the point that it may not be loud enough to provide proper warning, especially for sleeping individuals.

"Most people have a sense of complacency about smoke alarms because they already have one in their homes. Fire Prevention Week provides an excellent opportunity to re-educate people about smoke alarms, new technologies and expanded options for installation and maintenance," says Judy Comoletti, division manager for NFPA public education. "Ultimately, we want this year's campaign to serve as a call to action for households nationwide to inspect their homes to ensure that their families have the full smoke alarm protection that's recommended."

Dover AFB Fire and Emergency Services offers the following tips for making sure smoke alarms are maintained and working properly:
· Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button, and make sure everyone in your home knows their sound.
· If an alarm "chirps," warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
· Replace all smoke alarms, including ones that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they're 10-years-old (or sooner) if they do not respond properly when tested.
· Never remove or disable a smoke alarm.

To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities on Dover AFB contact the Fire Department at 677-4402 and plan on visiting the fire station on Oct. 9 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the open house. To learn more about "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!," visit NFPA's Web site at

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