'Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety' during Fire Prevention Month

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'Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety' during Fire Prevention Month

Risk Management Services
October 12, 2021

October is Fire Prevention Month. During this time, the Building and Fire Safety Division of Risk Management Services encourages university faculty and staff to raise their awareness of the dangers of fire, both in the workplace and at home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers a fire safety theme each year. This year’s theme is "Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety." From beeps to chirps, this year's campaign works to better educate the public about the sounds smoke alarms make, what those sounds mean, and how to respond to them. 

Working smoke alarms in the home reduce the risk of dying in a reported fire by more than half (55%). However, almost three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that failed to operate; missing or non-functional power sources, including missing or disconnected batteries, dead batteries, and disconnected hardwired alarms or other alternate current (AC) power issues, are the most common factors when smoke alarms fail to operate.

When the smoke alarms in your home beep or chirp and you can’t figure out why – or how to make them stop – it can be frustrating. All too often, that frustration leads people to remove the batteries from their alarms or dismantle them altogether. These actions place people at serious risk in the event of a home fire. Take these actions can make a life-saving difference:

  • When a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide (CO) alarm sounds, respond immediately by exiting the home as quickly as possible.
  • If your alarm begins to chirp, it may mean that the batteries are running low and need to be replaced. If the alarm continues to chirp after the batteries are replaced, or the alarm is more than 10 years old, it is time to replace the alarm.
  • Test all smoke and CO alarms monthly. Press the test button to make sure the alarm is working.
  • If there is someone in your household who is deaf or hard of hearing, install bed shaker and strobe light alarms that will alert that person to fire.
  • Know the difference between the sound of a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm – three beeps for smoke alarms, four beeps for carbon monoxide alarms.

On campus, smoke detectors in the buildings are connected to a building-wide fire alarm system. Batteries are not an issue with these system smoke detectors. If activated by presence of smoke, the building alarm will sound. When you hear the building fire alarm:

  • Exit the building immediately. Close doors behind you. Do not use the elevators
  • Gather in your pre-determined evacuation location away from the building. Building Managers have access to building evacuation plans.
  • Remain outside until the all-clear is given by UAPD or Tucson Fire Department. Silencing of the alarms does not constitute an "all-clear."

An excellent Fire Safety Awareness training for home and workplace is available on the Edge Leaning platform. Log onto Edge Learning and search for Fire Safety Awareness.

Please review the Fire Safety page on the Risk Management website. Stay safe and well!

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