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Smoke alarms focus of awareness event

BOISE – Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has signed a proclamation declaring this as Fire Prevention Week.

The Idaho State Fire Marshal’s key message for the event is to encourage smoke alarm installation in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of every home, including the basement. Smoke alarms are an inexpensive and effective means of protecting homes and people.

“Fire prevention begins at home,” said State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl. “When it comes to smoke alarms, it’s all about location. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries.”

The State Fire Marshal’s Office, a division of the Idaho Department of Insurance, has investigated many residential fires where no smoke alarms were present or where the batteries had been removed. Proper maintenance includes replacing smoke alarms every 10 years.

Widespread use of smoke alarms in homes is considered to be a principle factor contributing to the decline of home fire deaths. Nationwide statistics show that three of every five home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Research also indicates that home fires spread more rapidly today than in years past due to the synthetic fibers used in home furnishings, magnifying the need for working smoke alarms in the home.

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres.