SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Does your home have a smoke alarm? According to the National Fire Protection Association, the answer is likely yes: NFPA research shows that most American homes have at least one. But do you know how old your smoke alarms are? If you’re like most people, you’re probably not so sure.
A recent survey conducted by NFPA revealed only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced. That lack of awareness is a concern for Schriever Air Force Base Fire Department and NFPA, along with fire departments throughout the country, because smoke alarms don’t last forever.
“Time and again, I’ve seen the life-saving impact smoke alarms can have in a home fire, but I’ve also seen the tragedy that can result when smoke alarms aren’t working properly,” said Brad Truver, Schriever Air Force Base Fire Department assistant chief. “That’s why we’re making a concerted effort to educate our local residents about the overall importance of smoke alarms and that they do have a life limit.”
NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code, requires smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years, but because the public is generally unaware of this requirement, many homes have smoke alarms past their expiration date, putting people at increased risk.
To find out how old your smoke alarm is and its expiration date, simply look on the back of the alarm where the date of manufacture is marked. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase). Smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and batteries should be replaced once a year or when they begin to chirp, signaling that they’re running low.
As the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, NFPA is promoting this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait - Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” to better educate the public about the critical importance of knowing how old their smoke alarms are and replacing them every 10 years.
The Schriever Air Force Base Fire Department is hosting various activities throughout Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15, including information displays at the portals, dining facility and the Missile Defense Agency.
In a joint effort with Ellicott Fire Department they will have a presentation for the school children at the Ellicott Elementary School 9 a.m. Oct. 10. A fire safety educational video will be shown and “Sparky” the fire dog will demonstrate the “stop, drop and roll” technique to children.
Members of the Schriever Air Force Base Fire Department will also visit the Schriever Child Development Center 9 a.m. Oct. 14 showing off their fire truck with “Sparky”. After the visit the fire department will teach the school aged children home fire safety by utilizing their interactive fire safety trailer which includes kitchen safety and how to escape smoky conditions in a bedroom.
The Tiera Vista Community Center will be hosting an open house 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 14. The event will include snacks, giveaways, handouts, visits from “Sparky” and other activities for the whole family. The Schriever Air Force Base fire department will have their fire trucks and equipment on display to interact with.
For more information on smoke alarms and this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait: Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” visit www.firepreventionweek.org. To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities at Schriever, contact the Schriever Air Force Base Fire Department at 567-3370.