All 35 stations throughout Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department's network participated in a Fire Prevention Week Open House this past Saturday. Each station had displays and activities highlighting fire safety and burn prevention.
This year's theme was, "When Fire strikes: Get Out! Stay Out!" The campaign focuses on two simple, but essential safety lessons everyone can learn, according to Daniel L. Schmidt, FCF&R, public information officer. Those are installing and maintaining smoke alarms and practicing home escape plans.
"To reduce the risk even more, learn how to effectively use the smoke alarm's early warning system to get out safely," Schmidt urged. The National Fire Prevention Association provides the following guidelines:
*Install smoke detectors correctly and on every floor including the basement.
*Make sure there is an alarm in or near every sleeping area.
*Test smoke alarms at least once a month, following manufactures instructions.
*Replace the batteries in smoke alarms when the time changes twice a year. This year that is on Sunday, October 26.
*Plan regular fire drills to ensure that everyone knows exactly what to do when the smoke alarm sounds. Hold a night drill to make sure sleeping family members awaken at the sound of the alarm.
NFPA REPORTS that in the latest year for which statistics are available, fire departments nationwide respond to a fire every 18 seconds, battling more than 1.7 million blazes. Three-quarters of structural fires are residential and eight of 10 fire deaths occur in the home.
Using sprinklers and smoke alarms together can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by 82 percent, according to NFPA. While 95 percent of U.S.homes have "at least one smoke alarm," half the home fire deaths occur in the remaining five percent, NFPA statistics note.
For additional safety tips and advice, visit NFPA on line at www.sparky.org or www.riskwatch.org. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department's web site is www.fairfaxcounty. gov.