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FIRE PREVENTION WEEK

It's time for Fire Prevention Week, and from October 5-11, during this year's fire safety campaign, firefighters and safety advocates will be spreading the word about the importance of having working smoke alarms in the home and testing them monthly.

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 on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871. Since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls

According to the latest NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) research, working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving everyone enough time to get out.

This year's Fire Prevention Week campaign includes the following smoke alarm messages:

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

• Interconnect 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 do not respond properly.

• Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it.

Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. To learn more about smoke alarms and "Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives", visit NFPA's website at www.firepreventionweek.org.