Local students are heading home this month with a fresh insight into how to keep their homes safe, as Fire Prevention Month continues at the Great Bend Fire Department.
Capt. Luke McCormick said the department has returned to having a skit to show to grade school students this year, with the theme: “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?”
The “program” is hosted by Smokey the Bear, and it features a panel that includes a local fifth grader, picked from the school in question.
It has been several years since the fire department included the skit, and it involves a major investment of effort by the firefighters.
This year’s national fire prevention theme is “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!”
Smoke alarms are important to keeping families safe, according to information from the National Fire Prevention Association.
According to NFPA information:
Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported fire in half.
•Most homes (96 percent) have at least one smoke alarm (according to a 2008 telephone survey.)
•Overall, three-quarters of all U.S. homes have at least one working smoke alarm.
•Each year, nearly 3,000 people die in U.S. home fires.
•In 2003-2006, roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from home fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
• No smoke alarms were present in 40 percent of the home fire deaths.
• In 23 percent of home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.
• In more than half of the reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate even though the fire was large enough, batteries were missing or disconnected.
• More than half of the smoke alarms found in reported fires and two-thirds of the alarms found in homes with fire deaths were powered by battery only.
• Most homes still have smoke alarms powered by battery only.
• In a 2007 American Housing Survey, 67 percent of the respondents who reported having smoke alarms said they were powered by battery only.
• Interconnected smoke alarms on all floors increase safety.
• In a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission survey of households with any fires, interconnected smoke alarms were more likely to operate and alert occupants to a fire. This includes fires in which the fire department was not called.