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Safety First, Dance Later

Power - by David Neubert - updated on 10/11/2013

While we're still not entirely sure what Men Without Hats were referring to in their 1983 hit, or what their extremely obscure music video was all about, we're completely sure that, even 30 years later, "The Safety Dance" has absolutely nothing to do with the necessary precautions recommended during National Fire Prevention Week…

clip from the safety dance

Every year, the week (Sunday to Sunday) where October 8th falls, is deemed National Fire Prevention Week by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). This is because, on this date, back in 1871, two massive fires ravaged a large Midwestern city, Chicago, and a large Midwestern countryside and forest, near Peshtigo, WI and up into Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Great Chicago Fire, and the lesser known, but even more devastating, Great Peshtigo Fire , are reminders of the tremendous danger that fire poses for our homes, businesses and communities.

In order to avoid letting history repeat itself, we must continue to educate ourselves on fire safety and prevention, and take the time to exercise all precautions necessary in our homes and businesses. National Fire Prevention Week opens in new window is the ideal time to pause and make sure we are doing all we can to deter any potential damage that can be caused by fire.

Smoke Alarm battery check

Many household devices rely on batteries to work, yet few, if any, have a more crucial function than the batteries operating our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. And, unfortunately, unless these batteries are tested on a frequent basis, there's no way to tell if they're working or not, before it might be too late.

Checking our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is surely one of the easiest, most effective things we can do to avoid the perils of a fire in our home or workplace. Tim Massey, manager of the Hoover, AL Batteries Plus Bulbs reiterates, "the presence of a smoke alarm alone can't save lives – it has to have batteries that work."

smoke detector with smoke rising toward it

Which means, simply, if you haven't changed your smoke alarm batteries in the past year, now is the time to do so. After all, as the NFPA estimates, "25 percent of reported fires in homes that do have smoke alarms, the devices don't go off because of disabled or dead batteries." The implications of this can be tragic since, "from the time smoke alarms first became widely available to households in the United States (in the 70s), the home fire death rate has been cut in half," adds Massey.

Here are a few tips to ensure your smoke alarms are ready to warn against the dangers of a fire in your home or business:

  • Check the batteries monthly and replace them annually. However, if you have a single station ionization type smoke detector, this battery may last up to 10 years!
  • Position detectors smartly. Place one on every level of your home and near areas where you and your family sleep.
  • Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old. Smoke alarms don't last forever.
  • Keep detectors away from heating and cooling ducts and at least six inches from where walls and ceilings meet.

After fire is detected

Once you become aware of a fire, now is the time to swiftly and calmly react with the following steps:

  • If you are able to put out the fire with an easily accessible fire extinguisher, do so immediately – it's a good idea to keep extinguishers near the kitchen, garage, laundry room and workshop.
  • If escape is the only option, make sure your family or co-workers have an exit plan with at least two exit spots to consider. Make sure you have a designated meeting spot to congregate once out of the home or building.
  • If smoke fills a room or hallway, be sure to get low and crawl to avoid the rising heat.
smoke detector with smoke rising toward it

It's Batteries Plus Bulbs' goal to educate and prepare customers for ways to avoid being injured in a fire. "Checking your smoke detector is imperative and can save your life and the lives of your loved ones, but knowing how to get out of your home is just as important. We want to make sure people are safe and we have the tools to help avoid senseless deaths," Massey said.

Visit your local store for more information on how to equip yourself with everything you need for a safe home or office. Plus, through October 12th, in conjunction with local fire departments, stop in and get a FREE 9-Volt battery for your smoke alarm!