Dear friends and family. I don't forward a lot of stuff but this is one I really want you to read and to take to heart. For the kids getting this, bug your parents until they upgrade their alarms and until they develop and practice a fire escape plan. For the adults, I have too few friends and family to lose any to carelessness.
The following statement along with the brochure about CO is in every inspection report I do. Sadly, when I follow up, only about 2% have followed the advice. Last year, we lost a wonderful doctor and his family of five to an electrical fire because the smoke alarms were not functioning. This was a $2M house. He just took for granted that the old alarms would work.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
United States Fire Administration
CPSC and USFA News
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2007
Release # 07-124
CPSC Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908
USFA Media Contact: (301) 447-1853
CPSC and USFA Encourage Consumers to Spring Forward with Fire Safety in
News stories reported at least 200 people killed in home fires in first
three weeks of February
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Each year, families and homeowners are reminded by
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and U.S. Fire
Administration (USFA) to ensure that their smoke alarms are working
properly and have fresh batteries. With daylight saving time coming up
on Sunday, CPSC and USFA are adding a new message: use the time change as an opportunity to take a fresh look at your family's fire escape
While smoke alarms have helped save countless lives over the past 30
years, research has shown that children younger than 16 may not reliably
wake up when the alarm goes off. The fact that children may sleep
through the sound of a smoke alarm must be taken into account when
creating the family fire escape plan.
CPSC, USFA, the National Fire Protection Association, International
Association of Fire Chiefs, and International Association of Fire
Fighters all recommend that families conduct a fire escape drill either
late at night or early in the morning. This drill will help parents
determine if their child/children are awakened by and able to respond to
the sound of a smoke alarm. For those children who do not respond, the
traditional fire escape plan of everyone meeting at a common location
outside the home may leave them at risk. The fire safety community
encourages parents and caregivers to assist children in getting to a
safe location when an alarm activates at a time when they are asleep.
"No community can put a firefighter on every street corner. Everyone
can, however, put a firefighter on duty 24 hours a day and 7 days a week
by having and using working smoke alarms in their homes," said USFA
Acting Administrator Charlie Dickinson.
"Smoke alarms save lives - everyone should have working alarms on each
floor of their house and inside every bedroom," said CPSC Acting
Chairman Nancy Nord. "So that even more lives can be saved in the
future, the fire safety community is currently working to improve smoke
alarm audibility for children."
Consumers should replace their smoke alarms every 10 years since the
sensors in these devices can degrade because of environmental
contamination and from age. In addition to replacing batteries in smoke
alarms at least once every year, CPSC and USFA recommend testing them monthly. Battery backup is an important consideration for those alarms that are powered by your home's electrical system.
Between 1999 and 2003, there were an estimated 356,000 unintentionally
set residential fires reported to fire departments annually. These fires
resulted in an estimated annual average of 2,500 deaths and 14,000
CPSC staff came to the following conclusions about children and smoke
alarms in a 2004 report on this issue:
Children under the age of 16 have longer periods of deep sleep compared to adults
Current smoke alarms do not reliably wake children under the age of 16.
Various home configurations and locations of smoke alarms can limit the transmission of sound throughout the house.
Interconnected smoke alarms can provide earlier warning of smoke and
fire and placing them inside bedrooms may provide improved warning when bedroom doors are closed.
CPSC and USFA have produced a new one-minute public service announcement
(PSA) on the importance of having working smoke alarms and an effective
fire escape plan. To view video versions or hear the audio version, and
to see graphics associated with this release, please go to:
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting
the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more
than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction.
Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents
cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed
to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire,
electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The
CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys,
cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals -
contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of
deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's
hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or
visit CPSC's web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email
subscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.asp. Consumers can
obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at
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This message is from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,
an independant federal regulatory agency, located at 4330 East West
Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814 Toll-free hotline: (800) 638-2772