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As Fire Prevention Month gets underway, FASNY reminds New Yorkers to test smoke alarms

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Sat, Oct 6th 2018 11:35 am
3 of every 5 home fire deaths occur in a home without a working smoke alarm
Guest Editorial by the Firemen's Association of the State of New York
Fire Prevention Month is underway, and Fire Prevention Week (Oct 7-13) is rapidly approaching. The Firemen's Association of the State of New York (FASNY) is urging New Yorkers to take note of basic fire safety tips and advice that can help save lives. In particular, FASNY asks all New Yorkers ensure their smoke alarms are in proper working order so that they, and their families, are protected against fire. FASNY specifically encourages New Yorkers to install smoke alarms equipped with sealed-in, non-removeable batteries that last for 10 years. These alarms do not require any battery changes during their lifespan and are nearly impossible to disable.
Most fatal fires happen between midnight and 8 a.m., and it takes only a few moments for fire to spread through a house. Occupants of a burning home may only have minutes to escape before being overcome by the smoke and flames. Working smoke alarms help ensure people are awakened and able to take advantage of those precious minutes.
The numbers bear this out. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or working smoke alarms. Firefighters frequently encounter smoke alarms with missing or dead batteries, meaning these homes are defenseless against fire.
"According to the United States Fire Administration, New York state currently ranks second in the nation for civilian fire deaths in 2018, and winter, frequently the busiest time of the year for home fires, is coming," FASNY President Steven Klein said. "Fire Prevention Week is an excellent opportunity to reverse this trend. Installing and maintaining working smoke alarms, particularly smoke alarms with 10-year batteries, is the most important thing people can do to protect themselves and their families. In addition, people should understand how to escape from their homes in the case of a fire, and regularly hold family fire drills."
In December of 2015, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation banning the sale of smoke alarms equipped with removeable batteries in New York. This is an important step in the effort to reduce fire deaths in New York. The legislation takes effect in April of 2019.
Smoke Alarm Tips from the NFPA
  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they're working. Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.
  • Interconnect your smoke alarms so that when one smoke alarm sounds, they all do.
About FASNY 
Founded in 1872, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York represents the interests of the approximately 105,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York state. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.
About Fire Prevention Week
Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began Oct. 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on Oct. 9, 1871. For more information, visit www.NFPA.org.

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