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Smoke alarms save lives

October is the national fire awareness month sponsored by National Fire Protection Association.

The nonprofit association was established in 1896 and aims to “reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.”

The association, which has more than 65,000 members, encourages fire departments nationwide to promote fire education to the public. Traditionally, the association aims to teach grade-school students using community outreach programs, in-school education and public education led by community firefighters.

The most common fire prevention figure is Sparky the dog. Sparky has been the association’s official mascot and “spokesdog” since 1951. Sparky lets the association relate to and educate children of all ages on many levels.

Sparky has his own website where he has games and information. Sparky is also on social media; you can find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Every year, the association focuses on a particular subject to educate the public on. This year’s focus is the importance of smoke detectors.

Joining the association, safety advocates and firefighters nationwide, the Boulder City Fire Department will participate in this year’s “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month” campaign.

The association’s latest research shows that working smoke detectors will increase someone’s chance of survival in a fire by 50 percent. Almost two-thirds of deaths resulting from fires were in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

In a fire, seconds can matter; they can separate life and death. Smoke detectors can give you the advantage of knowing when there is a fire, and knowing when to get out.

The campaign on the importance of smoke detectors urges people to:

■ Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.

■ Connect 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.

■ Ensure that everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when he or she hears it.

■ Along with having properly working smoke detectors, have a fire extinguisher and a family emergency plan with a coordinated evacuation plan.

Be prepared for any emergency and keep your family safe.

If you have more questions on fire safety, family preparedness or the importance of smoke detectors, call me at the firehouse at 702-293-9228 or email at bshea@bcnv.org. You can also visit nfpa.org for some home safety tips.

Brian Shea is a Boulder City paramedic/firefighter.

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