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News | Oct. 5, 2015

Fire Prevention Week 2015 highlights importance of smoke detectors

By Christine Born DLA Public Affairs

A home-structure fire was reported every 85 seconds last year, causing 3,275 deaths, 15,775 injuries and $11.6 billion in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“Hear the Beep Where You Sleep” is the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, which runs Oct. 4-10. The NFPA reports that roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., a time when most people are asleep. A working smoke alarm in each bedroom can give residents time to escape and potentially reduce the risk of dying from a fire in half, the NFPA added.

While larger homes may need more alarms, the NFPA suggests installing smoke alarms on every level of a home, including the basement. Residents should also change batteries in smoke detectors’ at least twice a year.

“We urge Defense Logistics Agency employees and their families to be fire-safe throughout the year and to use Fire Prevention Week to emphasize fire safety,” said Roland Todd, DLA Fire and Emergency Services program manager at the McNamara Headquarters Complex.

DLA has four sites with fire departments—Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia; DLA Land and Maritime, Columbus, Ohio; DLA Distribution, San Joaquin, California; and DLA Distribution, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. During Fire Prevention Week, each department will present educational seminars and hold open houses with handouts on fire safety and tours of their facilities, Todd said.  

“Sparky” the fire dog, the NFPA’s mascot, will also visit DLA Child Development Centers to educate children on fire-safety tips and survival techniques.

“Our goal is that Fire Prevention Week will educate DLA employees before they have a life-changing fire emergency,” Todd said.

Fire Prevention Week was created to commemorate the 1871 Great Chicago Fire that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and the campaign has been held every October since 1922. According to the National Archives and Records Administration's Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.
 
More information on fire safety is available at the National Fire Protection Association’s website or DLA and local fire departments.