The theme for this year's National Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, is "Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm." Smoke alarms save lives! If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads very fast. The sound of a working smoke alarm alerts you and your loved ones to immediately escape to safety. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires by half. Last year alone, 54,000 fires broke out in the state of Florida, causing 139 civilian and three firefighter fatalities. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire by half! According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three out of five home fire deaths from 2007-2011 were caused by fires in home with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Eight out of 10 fire deaths result from home fires with the majority occurring late at night, between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. 

Smoke alarms are one of the easiest and most effective fire prevention tools available. The key message of this year's campaign is to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of your home. For more information on the life-saving value of home smoke alarms visit NFPA's "Smoke Alarm Central". Smoke alarms should be tested one a month to make sure they work and batteries should be replaced one a year, or when you hear the alarm "chirp", which means the battery is low. The NFPA suggests smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.

Escape Planning

According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have a home fire escape plan in place. And although almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan, more than half have never practiced it. Fires are unpredictable and they spread very quickly. Smoke can make it difficult to see and breathe. According to the NFPA, the time available to escape before a home fire becomes life threatening is usually less than 6 minutes! Only 8% of people surveyed said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarms would be to get out! 

Put an escape plan in place by walking through your home and identifying two ways out of every room (such as the door and a window). Then draw out your escape plan and post it where everyone in the family can see it. Pick an outside meeting place where everyone can gather after they've escaped safely (a neighbor's house, mailbox, even a tree), Mark the spot clearly on your escape plan and do monthly practice drills so everyone knows exactly where to go.

Children should practice fire prevention and safety all year round. Educate them and explain the importance of not playing with matches, lighters or other fire sources. Teach and practice "Stop, Drop and Roll" in case clothing catches on fire. With the help of Sparky the Fire Dog they can learn about fire safety in fun, interactive ways. You will find printable activity sheets, videos and E-cards on the kids page. On the fire-safety storybook app and eBook page, there are free downloadable apps to teach kids (ages 3-10) about fire safety; what a smoke alarm looks like, the sound they make, and what to do when it goes off. There's also a free downloadable eBook, for grades 3-5, which mixes fire-safety messages with true-life stories of brave and quick-thinking kids, science facts, and more. In addition, this fire safety story breaks down the steps to follow during a fire in a way children can understand.

Fire Prevention week is so important; it is listed as the longest running public health and safety observance on record. Gather your family and take a few minutes to locate the smoke alarms throughout your home, test them, and replace their batteries if necessary. This week provides the perfect opportunity to raise awareness and spread the word about smoke alarm safety. Urge family members, friends, and neighbors to get educated on how to best protect their homes from potential safety risks. Encourage them to test or purchase smoke alarms if they haven't already done so. Everyone should ensure they are properly installed and maintained. Sleep better knowing you will hear the beep where you sleep!

 

Thank you for visiting our blog. Hopefully you came away with some great home insurance and safety tips. Florida Peninsula Insurance Company is one of Florida's leading homeowners insurance companies, insuring more than 130,000 homes located in cities like Fort Myers, Panama City, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Tallahassee and Pensacola. We strive to provide Florida homeowners with fast, fair, friendly service insuring their homes at competitive rates.