Fire prevention

The sounds of safety

By TED WADDELL
Posted 9/29/21

NATIONWIDE — Listening to your smoke or carbon monoxide alarms can save your life, the lives of your loved ones or your cherished home and a lifetime of beloved possessions.

So if you hear …

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Fire prevention

The sounds of safety

Posted

NATIONWIDE — Listening to your smoke or carbon monoxide alarms can save your life, the lives of your loved ones or your cherished home and a lifetime of beloved possessions.

So if you hear “beep, beep, beep” from your home’s smoke detector, or a series of four sharp “chirps” from the carbon monoxide alarms, follow the life-saving advice posted by your local fire department, and immediately “Get out, call 9-1-1, and stay out!”

Fire Prevention Week takes place in October, recognizing the Great Chicago Fire. That started on October 8, 1871, killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 without a roof over their heads and reduced more than 2,000 acres of land to a burned and desolate crisp.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), headquartered in Quincy, MA, was founded on November 6, 1896, and by published accounts was an outgrowth of the Committee on Automatic Sprinkler Protection, formed the previous year by a concerned group affiliated with fire insurance companies and a pipe manufacturer.

Fire Prevention Week dates back to 1922, when the NFPA first sponsored it. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the week of October 3 through October 9 as a national observance. The NFPA notes that “it is the longest-running public health observance in the country.”

The theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.”

Those are easily identified as a series of three or four continuous loud beeps or chirps.

According to a fact sheet prepared by the NFPA, “It’s important to learn the different sounds of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. When an alarm makes noise—a beeping sound or a chirping sound—you must take action!”

Make sure everyone in the house knows what the alarms sound like and what they should do if they hear that sound.

 To check the sounds of your specific smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, follow the manufacturers’ instructions, the NFPA says. Those instructions were included with the smoke alarm or can be found online if you search for the brand and model.

“What do the sounds mean? Is there a beep or a chirp coming out of your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm? Knowing the difference can save you, your home, and your family,” said Lorraine Carli, vice-president of outreach and advocacy at the NFPA.

According to several online sources, smoke alarms emit a series of three sharp beeps, while carbon monoxide alarms sound a series of four piercing chirps, all of which are in rapid succession, and then repeat until the device is deactivated.

Want to know more? Start with your local fire department.

Locally, contact them for information about the importance of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, their recommended placement and operation, plus how to recognize the different sounds produced by the life-saving alarms.

Then head over to the NFPA at https://www.nfpa.org/fpw.

There’s a lot of information out there on YouTube as well. Here are a few sites to get started:

On the sounds of safety, from the NFPA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LQ6uhXAzvk

On purchasing one, from Consumer Reports:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJG3txhP0uE

On placement of detectors, from Kidde, manufacturer of smoke detectors:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbtrbwpS01M

Sources: The National Fire Protection Association, Wikipedia, the above-mentioned videos, and more from the Internet.

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