Assemblyman Tom McKevitt (R,C,I-East Meadow) today reminded Long Islanders that October is National Fire Prevention Month. The awareness campaign is meant to remind homeowners in our region that the best way to protect your family is early warning and preparation. Each year, nearly 3,000 people die in U.S. home fires. Smoke detectors and proper planning can mean the difference between safety and tragedy.
“During Fire Prevention Month, I want to remind friends and neighbors that there are many steps you can take to protect your home and your family from fires,” said McKevitt. “Furthermore, the National Fire Protection Association has sponsored National Fire Prevention Week to ensure that our homes and families are safe by providing helpful tips and fire-planning tools.”
According to the law, owners of one- and two-family homes must install and maintain smoke detectors in their home. To ensure proper operation of smoke detectors, test each device once per month, clean them each year to remove any dust, and, in battery-operated devices, change the batteries twice per year – when you change your clocks in the spring and fall. Smoke detectors older than 10 years should be replaced. Smoke detectors save lives, and roughly two-thirds of home-fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. About one in five smoke-alarm failures was due to dead batteries. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
In addition, each family should take the time to make an escape plan in case a fire breaks out in the home. Take the time to organize a step-by-step escape plan; discuss and diagram two ways out from every room, especially bedrooms. Make sure to note the location of all doors and windows. Pick one window in each room to be used as an emergency exit. Select a place outdoors for everyone in the family to meet and designate one family member to call the fire department from a cell phone or neighbor’s house. Make sure that everyone knows to exit the home as quickly as possible and that under no circumstances should anyone re-enter the home. In the event of an actual fire, remember to crawl under any smoke and heat and to feel all closed doors with the back of the hand to ensure there is no fire behind the door. Finally, make sure to practice your plan twice a year, preferably at night with the lights out.
“It is important to me that all of my constituents take the time to ensure that their families are safe in the event of a house fire,” said McKevitt. “A little planning now can save lives in the event of an actual emergency.”
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