September 24, 2010

Fire Prevention Week 2010 stresses the importance of having working smoke alarms

October 3-9 campaign is "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With"

State Fire Marshal Randy Cole urges Missourians to remember the importance of installing smoke alarms and keeping them powered with fresh batteries as Fire Prevention Week 2010 is about to begin. 
"Having working smoke alarms saves lives and provides early warning notification at all hours of the day and night, giving residents those precious extra seconds to escape a potentially devastating fire," said State Fire Marshal Cole. "Each year in Missouri, and across the country, lives are lost because residences do not have working smoke alarms.”
Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 3-9, 2010, is recognized annually by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and fire departments and safety agencies across the country. This year's campaign, "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With," encourages everyone to take the steps necessary to update and maintain their home smoke alarm protection.
Each year, nearly 3,000 people die in U.S. home fires. According to NFPA, from 2003-2006, about two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
"Smoke alarms can be purchased for under $20 nowadays, but simply buying a smoke alarm is not enough," said Marshal Cole. "Batteries must be changed periodically and families should regularly push the test button to make sure their smoke alarms are working properly.”
·     Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home (including the basement), outside each sleeping area, and inside each bedroom. ·     Larger homes may need additional smoke alarms. ·     Never remove or disable smoke alarms. ·     All smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and those that are hard-wired alarms, should be replaced when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.
According to NFPA, smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a fire by about 50 percent. Overall, three-quarters of all U.S. homes have at least one working smoke alarm.
Cole says that smoke alarms should be considered the starting point for a family's fire safety plan. "Carbon monoxide detectors are also essential, and so is planning and practicing escape routes from a home," Cole said.

Cole suggests developing a home escape plan as soon as a family moves into a new residence; regularly practicing the plan and explaining it to children; and revising the plan as the children grow up.

For more than 85 years, fire departments have observed Fire Prevention Week, making it the longest running public health and safety observance on record.  For more information on "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With,” visit


For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail