Keep your home safe from flames

2 Oct 2014 | Cpl. Jackeline M. Perez Rivera Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

Throughout October, firefighters are sharing a message of prevention and safety with communities nationwide.

In 2014, public safety advocates are focusing on highlighting the importance of smoke alarms.

"Working smoke alarms save lives," said Bob Penrod, a fire inspector aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. "We’re asking folks to test their detectors each month and make sure they are in good working condition."

The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms, according to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association.

"It is probably the most effective tool for early notification," said Penrod. "People are saved by smoke detectors. There is no question that when a working smoke detector is in place you will be alerted of a fire."

Statistics also highlight most home-fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms and more than one-third of home-fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Smoke detectors should be tested monthly, and batteries should be replaced semiannually on nine-volt battery operated smoke alarms and those hardwired into a home’s electrical system with a battery back-up. All smoke alarms, including lithium powered alarms, should be replaced every 10 years.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, it could be a deadly mistake to disable a smoke alarm while cooking.

Rather than disabling the battery, the administration recommends opening a window or door, waving a towel at the alarm to clear the air, or moving the alarm away from the kitchen.

While this year’s Fire Prevention Month focuses on smoke alarms, professionals will share information on prevention ideas to make your home or business safer.

Fire prevention events in October were created to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, which killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres in 1871, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Throughout October, firefighters aboard Camp Lejeune will share information about smoke alarms and fire prevention at the Marine Corps Exchange aboard the installation Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the same time, Wednesdays at Marine Corps Air Station New River’s exchange.

"Camp Lejeune Fire and Emergency Services are very proactive in fire prevention," said Penrod. "Preventing fires is important to everybody."

Members of the military community can also visit any installation fire department if they have any questions or concerns.