October is Fire Prevention Month

October has various holidays and national days that are observed throughout the month. For example, in Canada, Thanksgiving is on October 12th, across the world, Halloween is celebrated on October 31st, and believe it or not, October 14th is National Dessert Day in The United States. Although maybe it’s not as delicious sounding as Dessert Day, October is also Fire Prevention Month. Whether you are at home or work, fire prevention is essential to everyone’s safety. Having an escape plan as well as working smoke alarms are absolutely vital in preventing tragedy if a fire takes place. Unfortunately, 3 of every 5 home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms, and less than 50% of homeowners have an escape plan if a fire takes place. 

Smoke Alarms and Escape Routes

When I gathered information to research fire awareness, I was surprised by some of the statistics I found regarding smoke alarms. As mentioned above, working smoke alarms will save your life if a fire takes place. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you change the batteries in the smoke alarms several times a year, it is recommended that you replace the batteries when we change the clocks back in the fall and ahead in the spring. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. When replacing a battery, follow the manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturer’s instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used. Below are some statistics provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and they paint a good picture of the importance of working smoke alarms. 

  • Almost three out of five home fire deaths were caused by fires in properties with no smoke alarms (41 percent) of smoke alarms that failed to operate (16 percent).
  • When smoke alarms were present in reported fires considered large enough to activate them, they operated in 89 percent of the fires, 73 percent of the deaths, and 82 percent of the injuries.
  • The risk of dying in reported home structure fires is 55 percent lower in homes with working smoke alarms than in homes with no alarms or none that worked.
  • When present, hardwired smoke alarms operated in 94 percent of the fires considered large enough to trigger a smoke alarm. Battery-powered alarms operated 82 percent of the time. Power source issues were the most common factors when smoke alarms failed to operate.

In addition, a well thought out escape plan is important. If a fire takes place, time is of the essence to get a safe place that is clear of smoke and fire. Under most circumstances fires will come as a surprise and without warning, and it is important to practice your escape route on a regular basis so if the time comes you will be prepared to make safe and sound decisions for you, your family, and your co-workers. Below are some tips when creating an escape plan

  • Learn two ways out of every room
  • Have an escape plan in the home, office and workplace
  • Set a meeting place
  • Know the path from each exit to the outside
  • Keep the areas near the exit points easily accessible

How To Prevent Fires 

Believe it or not, cooking is the number 1 cause of home fires and home injuries. It is important to stay in the kitchen when you are cooking and to remain alert when using ovens and stovetops. Misuse of portable heaters and fireplaces is also a trigger for fires within a home. Keep all flammable items like paper, clothing, or rugs at least 3 feet from a space heater, stove or fireplace. In terms of space heaters, they do sell models that will automatically turn off if they fall over which is a great option. Below are some other tips to prevent fires within your home:

  • Institute a “no smoking” policy in the house
  • Check all cords and replace any that are frayed or have bare wires
  • Switch to flameless candles
  • Keep matches and lighters high and out of children’s reach in a locked cabinet

ICC Compliance Center is here to help. Safety is just as important to us as the other services we offer. We offer various stock items and can work with you to develop custom signs for hallways, doors and fences to assist you in your fire escape route. Please call us at 888-442-9628 (U.S.) or 888-977-4834 (Canada) for more details. 

 Sources:
https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/safety-topics/emergency-preparedness/fire
https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Staying-safe/Safety-equipment/Smoke-alarms/Changing-clocks-and-batteries
https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/Fact-sheets/SmokeAlarmsFactSheet.ashx
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1820426/
https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Top-fire-causes/Cooking

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Michael Zendano

Michael Zendano

Michael Zendano started with ICC Compliance Center back in 2016 with several years in the packaging field as a Quality Control Manager. In addition, he has 8 years experience in teaching. Michael works at the Niagara Falls Office as the Regulatory Packaging Expert where he manages packaging projects and procedures and is a member of the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IOPP) and The Chemical Packaging Committee (CPC) . Degrees: M.S. Science of Education.