National Fire Safety Week, commences today and will run until next Monday 12th October. This all-island awareness campaign is run jointly with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and is about enhancing fire safety awareness. This week is very important in the calendar of fire services around the world. The theme chosen for this year is “Smoke Alarms Save Lives” “Sábhálann Aláraim Deataigh Beathaí”.
National Fire Safety Week has it roots in the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on October 8, 1871. The former American President, Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week in 1925 in memory of those who perished in that Fire. Since then, in early October, it has been observed each year in countries across the world. 137 years on, the message regarding fire prevention and fire safety and is as relevant today as ever it was.
The key messages to remember this Fire Safety Week, and every week;
- Smoke Alarms save lives.
Most people who die in fires, die from smoke inhalation and not from burns. It can take as little as 3 minutes to die from smoke inhalation. A routine fire safety check only takes a few minutes but could mean the difference between life and death.
- You should test your smoke alarm once a month. Keep some extra batteries so that you always have some on hand.
A good rule of thumb is to change the batteries when the Clocks change, twice a year. If your smoke detector starts chirping or beeping off and on, it's time to change the batteries. Never “borrow” batteries with the intention of replacing them later.