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In other news; Working Smoke Detectors Save Lives.


In case you missed some of the news stories, this week of October 7th is National Fire Prevention Week. There’s a lot of history behind this week. I encourage you to read how and when it all started. Many fire stations nationwide hold open houses, provide station tours, respond to requests of visiting this school or that school and for some, at the end of the week, those events are tucked away until next year. I’ve stated as well as many others have, that Fire Prevention and practicing fire safety is something that should be thought of on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the tragic stories come along that state a child, an adult or worse, a family was lost in a house fire and there were no working smoke detectors. On the flip side, there are some stories that are out there that because of an alert animal or an alert neighbor or an alert occupant realized the need for people to escape a house fire and have been successful in doing so. (None are smoke detectors.) These typical stories occur every day. Not all of these stories involve an interview with an incident commander or fire chief. But when they do reach the media, it should be pointed out that the family did or did not have working smoke detectors. We’ve also got to do better with our reporting these incidents on our reporting software (NFIRS). Check that box! Were there working smoke detectors in the home? How else can we support smoke detectors usage without the data? The topic of Fire Prevention covers a lot more than smoke detectors, but they should be a topic on the top of our list always. Smoke detectors save lives. The fire service saves lives and protects property. That’s our mission statement. This should be easy. We have to get better with this theme. Using the media more and mentioning to that reporter that the working smoke detector did its job or that non-working smoke detectors may have worked if batteries were installed in them or even mentioning the fact that there were no working smoke detectors in place, that could have alerted the family and the fire department quicker. Social media is a powerful tool as well. Many departments have Facebook pages or Instagram accounts and Twitter feeds. We can use these tools as much as we want and educate people towards the subject of Fire Prevention. It doesn’t take much time and the information is readily available through the United States Fire Administration and other websites. Last week, the U.S.F.A. reported that 22 homes suffered home fire fatalities and that over 1800 people have died in home fires this year so far, because smoke alarms were present, but not working. I would like to ask a favor of you as a firefighter, line or chief officer. It’s a very simple favor that will only cost you a bit of time. Share these fire safety messages. They’re free! Tag your fellow members and get them to share these important messages. There are many fire safety videos that you can share as well and all you have to do is copy and paste and cite your source as applicable.  Many of the fire safety messages from the U.S.F.A. allow fire departments to use their own name in addition to theirs. We don’t get too much for free these days. However, with regards to reaching the masses with fire safety messages, they are free and in abundance! Fire Prevention Saves Lives. Smoke Detectors Saves Lives ! Find those fire safety messages to share and get them out there! And check that box on your fire report. Stay safe and stay smart !

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