Every year, Fire Prevention Week is observed the week of October 9th to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire that occurred in 1871. This fire killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed roughly 3.3 square miles of the city. The goal of Fire Prevention Week is to raise awareness about the dangers of fire and spread knowledge about fire safety to reduce the number of fire – related deaths and injuries.
This year, the theme of Fire Prevention Week is “Learn the sounds of Fire Safety” which aims to educate about the different sounds that smoke and carbon dioxide alarms make. Understanding the sounds of your alarms can help you to take immediate action to keep you and your family safe.
The Sounds of Smoke Alarms
A continued set of three loud beeps means there is smoke or a fire. If you hear this noise, you should get out of your home, stay out and call 9−1−1. When the battery is low on your smoke alarms, they will make a single chirp every 30 – 60 seconds. If you hear a chirp, replace the batteries in your alarms. After replacing the batteries if you still hear a chirp, it means the alarm is at the end of its life and needs to be replaced. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
The Sounds of Carbon Monoxide Alarms
A continuous set of four loud beeps indicates that carbon monoxide is in your home. If you hear four beeps, you should get out of your home, stay out and call 9−1−1. If you hear a single chirp every 30 – 60 seconds, replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide alarms. After replacing the batteries if you still hear a chirp, it means the alarm is at the end of its life and needs to be replaced. CO alarms also have “end of life” sounds that vary by manufacturer. This means it is time to get a new CO alarm.
Fire Safety Alarms, Devices and Safety Tips for Physical Disabilities
If you or someone in your home has a physical disability, you should make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms meet their needs. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Install a bedside alert devise that responds to the sound of the smoke and CO alarms.
- Using a low-frequency alarm can also wake a sleeping person with mild to severe hearing loss.
- Use a pillow or bed shaker alarm.
- Use devices with strobe lights to alert people of smoke alarm sounds.
- Sleep with your mobility device, glasses, and phone close to your bed.
- Keep pathways, like hallways, lit with night lights and free from clutter to make sure everyone can get out safely as quickly as possible.
The more you know, the safer you’ll be.