October 6, 2014

Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Department of Buildings Remind Residents: Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives!

Mimi Simon | Department of Buildings 312.743.7204    mimi.simon@cityofchicago.org

Larry Langford | Chicago Fire Department 312.745.4213    arry.langford@cityofchicago.org


Working smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference in a fire. That’s the message behind this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, "Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!"

Along with firefighters and building safety advocates nationwide, Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Department of Buildings are joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) during Fire Prevention Week, October 5-11, to remind local residents about the importance of having working smoke alarms in the home and testing them monthly.

According to the latest NFPA research, working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths nationwide resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

"In a fire, seconds count," said Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago. "Roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. In Chicago we had a record low 16 fire deaths in 2013, but as many as a dozen of those deaths occurred in homes with no working smoke detectors. Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving everyone enough time to get out."

This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign includes the following smoke alarm messages:

  • 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.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall.  Keep alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms.  They should be at least 10 feet away from the stove. But no more than 15 feet away from bedroom doors

“If you live in a rental building, it’s important to remember it is the responsibility of the tenant to provide and maintain functional batteries for each detector, to regularly test and maintain the detector in the dwelling units, and to notify the owner in writing of any deficiencies,” said Department of Buildings Commissioner Felicia Davis. “The end of Daylight Savings Time on November 2nd is an ideal time to replace smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries.”

To learn more about smoke alarms and "Working Smoke Alarms Saves Lives", visit NFPA’s website at http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/fire-prevention-week. 



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