TAVARES — As part of the Annual Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 3-9), the Lake County Department of Public Safety, Fire Rescue Division, is stepping up its public-education efforts to remind residents how to keep homes fire safe with smoke alarm recommendations.
During this year's fire safety campaign, firefighters and safety advocates from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are spreading the word on how smoke alarms save lives with the theme, “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!”
According to officials from the Lake County Fire Rescue Division, smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire. Statistics from the NFPA 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 are not working or maintained properly, usually because of missing, disconnected or dead batteries. About two-thirds of all home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
“Nationally, home fires occur every 82 seconds with over 16,500 home fires responded to within the State of Florida during 2009,” said John Jolliff, Lake County Fire Chief and Director of the Department of Public Safety, to County Commissioners Tuesday morning during an agenda item to approve a proclamation declaring Oct. 3-9 as Fire Prevention Week.
“In 2009, Lake County experienced 151 home fires and three fire deaths; on average over the last three years, Lake County Fire Rescue responded to a home fire every 40 hours of operation,” he added.
Lake County Fire Rescue 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 alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 years old (or sooner) if they do not respond properly when tested.
- Never remove or disable a smoke alarm.
For more information about fire prevention, call the Lake County Department of Public Safety, Fire Rescue Division, at (352) 343-9458. To learn more about “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!,” log on to NFPA’s Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org.