JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
In recognition of Fire Prevention Week Sunday through Thursday, Joint Base San Antonio Fire Emergency Services fire inspectors are reminding active-duty members, retirees and civilians to check the smoke alarms in their homes – which can help save lives in a fire.
JBSA Fire Emergency Services is following the Fire Prevention Week theme “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years” in stressing to JBSA residents and the public the importance of properly functioning smoke alarms and smoke alarm safety.
Darrin Tannert, JBSA Fire Emergency Services assistant chief of fire prevention, said smoke alarms in the home should be checked and tested regularly.
Tannert said JBSA residents and community members should check the back of the smoke alarm to find the date of manufacture. If the date is 10 years old, Tannert said the alarm needs to be replaced.
Alarm batteries should be replaced once a year or when the alarms begin to chirp, which indicate their batteries are running low.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom of a house, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including a basement if there is one in the home.
According to the NFPA, three out of five deaths in house fires from 2009-13 were the result of the home not having a smoke alarm or an alarm that was not working. A properly working smoke alarm was reported to cut the risk of being killed in a home fire by half.
Anthony Willett, JBSA Fire Emergency Services fire inspector, said fire extinguishers in the home should be checked often. When checking a fire extinguisher, make sure the needle is in the green part of the gauge, indicating it is fully pressurized, and the pin is secured, Willett said.
Tannert said most fires in the home start in the kitchen when people are cooking and leave the stove unattended. He said individuals should not leave their cooking unattended and instead cut the stove or the heat source they are cooking with off if they are going out of the kitchen.
Also, pot handles should be turned inside on the stove so children will not be able to grab them, Tannert said.
Tannert said families should develop a fire escape plan for their homes, which should include at least two escape routes. During a fire, he said family members should crawl and stay low if they encounter smoke while trying to escape. After getting out of the house, make sure all family members are accounted for and call 9-1-1.
James Smith, JBSA Fire Emergency Services fire inspector, said families should go over their fire escape plan as often as they want until everyone is familiar with it.
JBSA Fire Emergency Services will host an open house from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 15 at JBSA-Randolph Fire Station 8, building 700. Activities include fire safety demonstrations, vehicle and equipment displays, face painting and a bouncing castle. Firefighters will be available to answer questions about fire vehicles and the equipment they use.
A fire safety trailer will be on display that teaches children the importance of fire safety, how to escape a fire in the home and how to properly call 9-1-1 to report a fire.
Handouts, coloring books and fire prevention information kits and refreshments, including hot dogs, chips, drinks and cake, will be available.
For fire safety information and for information on Fire Prevention Week activities at all JBSA locations, contact the JBSA fire prevention offices at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, 221-3465; JBSA-Lackland, 671-2921; and JBSA-Randolph, 652-6915.