Submit this op/ed to your local newspaper (docx, 13 KB). Contact your newspaper's editor to find out how much advance notice you'll need to give. Add your chief's name as the author and send it to your local newspaper. You'll be helping residents of your community learn what they can do to make their home safer from fire.

Smoke alarms letter to the editor
by Chief (Name)

Working in the fire service for (X) years, I’ve seen the life-saving difference working smoke alarms can make in a home fire. Sadly, I’ve also seen the devastation that can result when smoke alarms aren’t working properly; the consequences can be tragic, or even fatal. That’s why it’s so important for all our residents to have fully functioning smoke alarms in their homes.

Many people assume that because they have smoke alarms in their homes, they’re automatically protected in the event of a fire. In reality, it’s not quite that simple. Smoke alarms need to installed, maintained and tested regularly to ensure that they’re working properly. Part of that effort includes knowing how old your smoke alarms are, because smoke alarms don’t last forever. That’s something many people don’t know, but at the (Your Town/City) Fire Department, we’re working to change that.

In coordination with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), we’re actively promoting this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait-Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” which reinforces the importance of knowing how old (Your Town/City) smoke alarms are, and to replace them after 10 years. Fire Prevention Week is October 9-15, 2016.

To find out when it’s time to replace the smoke alarms in your home, simply look on the back of the alarm where the date of manufacture is marked. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase or installation).

Here are some additional smoke alarm recommendations and guidelines:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Test alarms each month by pushing the test button.
  • Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 year old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
  • Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound the smoke alarms make, and that everyone understands what to do when they hear them.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.

Please share this potentially life-saving information about smoke alarms with (Your Town/City) residents, and help make our community that much safer from home fires.

To learn more about smoke alarms and this year’s “Don’t Wait-Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” visit NFPA’s Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org and www.sparky.org/fpw.

Sincerely,

Chief (Name)
(Town/City) Fire Department

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