During the weekend of November 1 – 3, 2013 Independence Fire Department responded to two working residential structure fires. In both of these fires, neither reported operating smoking detectors. In one of the structure fires, there was a fire fatality. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 4,000 Americans die and 20,000 are injured in fires each year, many of which could be prevented with operating smoke detectors. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house. Roughly, two thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or working smoke alarms.
On November 16, 2013, Independence Fire Personnel, Emergency Preparedness staff/volunteers and Independence Fire Explorers canvassed the 2900 block of Claremont handing out smoke alarm literature and reminding occupants to test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries when you change your clocks.
Independence Fire Department offers a Free Smoke Alarm Program. Smoke alarms are given out to homeowners based on need. For more information about the Free Smoke Alarm Program, apply at Independence Fire Station 1 at 950 N. Spring, between hours of 8am-5pm. Enter building on the west side or call 816-325-7121.
The Independence Fire Department want to remind resident of home fire safety tips that could save you and your children’s lives.
Smoke Alarms: Every home should have at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home, preferred in every sleeping area and outside of every sleeping area. Never take the battery out of your smoke alarm except for replacement. Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke detector. If smoke alarm “chirps” change the battery. Test your smoke alarm monthly, we recommended changing batteries when you change your clocks. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
Have a Home Fire Escape Plan: Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss plan with everyone in the home. Know at least two ways out of every room. Make sure all doors easily open and close all doors at night while sleeping to keep out harmful fire and smoke. Teach children if door is hot do not open it and place a towel or clothing in cracks of door. Find an alternate route or wait in the room for help. If able to get outside of house, have a designated meeting place. Remember smoke and heat rises so crawl low to the ground. Once outside, stay out. Tell firefighters if anyone is trapped in house. Practice the drill at night and during the day at least twice a year.
The Independence Fire Department also offers these simple maintenance tips to ensure your smoke alarms are in good working order:
· Testing -- Test each alarm once a month to make sure it is operating. Testing is the only way to ensure it is working to protect you. Push the test button and listen for the alarm. If you cannot reach the alarm, stand under it and push the test button with a broom handle.
· Replacing Batteries -- If your smoke alarms are battery-operated, replace the batteries at least twice a year (an easy reminder -- change your clock, change your batteries), or when the alarm chirps, alerting you the battery power is low. Replace the batteries immediately if you move into a new home. Make sure no one disables your smoke alarms by borrowing batteries for other uses.
· Cleaning -- Just as you clean your home, your smoke alarms need to be cleaned. Cobwebs and dust usually can be removed with a vacuum cleaner attachment. If you are going to be painting or doing work nearby that could send dust in the air, cover the alarm with a shield. Remove the shield promptly after work is completed, and never paint smoke alarms.