TAVARES — In observance of Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 4-10, Lake County Fire Rescue is joining the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in reminding residents of the importance of having working smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
Location matters is the message behind this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign: “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!” In fact, half of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep, according to the NFPA. Research shows working smoke alarms cut in half the chance of dying in a fire. Meanwhile, three out of five fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or without working smoke alarms.
“During a fire, every second counts,” said Lake County Fire Marshal Mike Vitta. “Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving residents valuable time to get out safely. We also urge residents to formulate an escape plan, which includes knowing at least two ways out of every room, practicing family fire drills, teaching children how to safely exit during an emergency and pre-determining an outdoor meeting area in a safe place.”
Follow these tips from the NFPA to ensure your family is better prepared in the case of a fire:
• 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.
• If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Go to your outside meeting place.
• Call the fire department from outside the home.
A Florida statute which took effect Jan. 1, 2015 requires all newly installed residential smoke alarms to have a non-removable, non-replaceable battery that powers the alarm for at least 10 years. For free assistance installing a smoke alarm or changing a battery in an existing smoke alarm, call Lake County Fire Rescue at 352-343-9458.
For more information about Lake County Fire Rescue, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/firerescue, or follow them on social media at www.facebook.com/LakeCountyFireRescue or www.twitter.com/lakefirePIO.
The Lake County Public Safety Department also encourages residents to sign up for the Smart911 Network, which allows people to proactively provide crucial information to first responders before an emergency occurs. Those interested in creating a safety profile can do so by visiting www.smart911.com. Each profile is private and only available to dispatchers during an emergency call.
For more information about Smart911, call the Lake County Public Safety Department at 352-253-1818 or visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/departments/public_safety/ or www.smart911.com.