Fire and Life Safety Education
The Alexandria Fire Department Community Services Unit offers education programs on a range of topics, from Fire Prevention Safety and Home Escape Planning for elementary school students to health and safety programs tailored for seniors.
For more information or to schedule an education program, please contact Shawn Gore with the Community Services Unit at 703.746.5269 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Smoke Alarm Program
What You Should Know About Smoke alarms
Home fires are a serious threat to your family' s safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 5,900 people die and over 200,000 are injured each year by fire in residences. Most home fire injuries and deaths are caused by smoke and toxic gases, not flames. Many deaths and injuries occur in fires that happen while the victims are asleep. Finding a reliable way to awaken sleepers before smoke becomes a life threatening hazard will enable more people to escape uninjured.
There is a way: the home smoke alarm.
How many? One outside each sleeping area, one in each bedroom, and one on each floor, including the basement.
When shopping for smoke alarms you should be sure that the alarm comes with clear and complete instructions, and be UL Listed. These instructions should provide you with information on the proper placement, safe installation, testing and maintenance.
If you wish to purchase smoke alarms for your home or have purchased them already and have not installed them or cannot install them, please call the Alexandria Fire Department or fill out the request form and we will install them free of charge. If you do not have smoke alarms or batteries for them, the Alexandria Fire Department will provide them, at no cost to you. After you submit a request form you will be contacted to schedule a visit.
On visits away from home, whether for business or pleasure, you should be especially alert to the absence of smoke alarms. Also be alert when you plan to sleep in a camper, tent, or private home, since these are facilities that are not affected by local smoke alarm ordinances.
Play it safe. Do not count on the smell of smoke to awaken you and do not assume that you will have plenty of time to get out should a fire occur. Remember that smoke is a silent killer. It is a myth that fires happen to other people. This is perhaps the most dangerous idea of all.
Smoke Detectors DO NOT Prevent Fires, But They Do Save Lives
Testing your alarm is the only way to know for certain if it is operating properly. Every alarm has a button that is labeled "test". This button should be pushed every month. It is also recommended that the battery be replaced twice a year. An annual campaign to promote this concept is " Change Your Clock-Change Your Battery," which reminds us to use the time change to replace batteries.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing smoke alarms every ten years. According to the NFPA, at 15 years, the chances are better than 50 / 50 that your alarm has failed, and that seems to big a risk to take. After ten years of use there is roughly a 30% probability of alarm failure before replacement.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends that people with hearing impairments install smoke alarms with louder alarm signals and /or strobe lights to alert them to a fire. If you purchase one of these smoke alarms, be sure it carries the label of an independent test laboratory. For a list of manufactures that distribute smoke alarms for the hearing impaired, and for more information on this subject, visit the NFPA' s (National Fire Protection Association) Center for High-Risk Outreach at www.nfpa.org The Alexandria Fire Department provides upon request, Photoelectric type residential smoke alarms for the hearing impaired. The unit is AC powered with 9V battery backup. This program is not intended to relieve a landlord of his/her responsibility to provide a visual smoke alarm to a tenant upon request.
Having a working smoke alarm in your home cuts your chances of dying from a fire nearly in half. What else can be done to increase your chances of surviving a fire in your home? Develop and practice a home fire escape plan. Practice your escape plan, with all family members, at least four times a year.
To request a smoke detector, please contact Shawn Gore with the Community Services Unit at 703.746.5269 or click on the Smoke Detector Request Form.
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