National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) marks Fire Prevention Week, October 7–13, by urging Americans to take action to protect their families from fire by checking life safety devices, inspecting electrical equipment, and creating a fire escape plan.
First established in 1922 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed more than 17,000 structures, Fire Prevention Week is observed every year during the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 (the most destructive day of the Chicago Fire) falls. During this week, the fire service and life-safety advocates across the country partner to educate the public on key fire prevention measures.
NEMA recommends that Americans take the following simple actions to help protect their families:
Check smoke alarms. Nearl y two-thirds of home fire deaths result from fires in homes without working smoke alarms. In order to be most effective, smoke alarms (as well as carbon monoxide alarms) must be properly maintained. Batteries should be replaced regularly, every 6 to 12 months, and alarms tested to ensure they operate as intended. Smoke alarms should be replaced in their entirety when they fail to respond to operability tests or after 10 years of the date of manufacture, whichever comes first. To reduce the likelihood of unwanted alarms (e.g., from cooking), NEMA recommends that you follow placement guidelines in the manufacturer’s published instructions and NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. Information on proper placement can be found at www.lifesafetysolutionsonline.com.
- Create a fire escape plan and practice fire drills. As a family, create a fire escape plan and put it into practice. Make sure that every family member knows at least two ways out of every room.
- Check electrical cords, appliances, and outlets. The Electrical Safety Foundation International has created a Fire Prevention Week toolkit that contains information on what to look for to reduce potential fire hazards in the home.
NEMA is the association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers, founded in 1926 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Its member companies manufacture a diverse set of products including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, factory automation and control systems, and medical diagnostic imaging systems. Worldwide annual sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion.
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