Yuma, Arizona - 2018’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Look, Listen, Be Aware-Fire can happen anywhere” Fire departments respond regularly to residential smoke alarms sounding, where there are no fires, and residents needing assistance with them. Usually this is just a case of the batteries needing to be replaced, and an alarm the resident is not familiar with. Often this is a late night disturbance for the resident (why does that always seem to happen at 2:00am?) that could have been avoided by regularly changing the batteries.

Every year, in the United States, from 2000 to 3000 people die in fires. In 3 out of 5 of those fatal fires a smoke alarm was either not present or not working. Most homes these days are equipped with smoke alarms, but due to poor maintenance (often batteries are found to be dead or disconnected) many fail to work properly when a fire occurs. Batteries should be replaced at least once a year and alarms tested monthly. Alarms over 10 years old need to be replaced!

Fires grow quickly, doubling in size every minute. The gases resulting from the burning of household materials are poisonous and along with the intense heat, quickly make for deadly conditions in a fire. You must make good use of the warning smoke alarms give you to safely get out and once out, to stay out of a burning building.

Smoke alarms do save lives, and they are some of the cheapest insurance you can buy, but they will do no good if they are not working properly. Last year the City of Yuma Fire Department received a Fire Prevention and Safety grant to purchase additional smoke alarms and continue our assistance to low income home owners. For more information about smoke alarms, or the smoke alarm assistance program, contact the Yuma Fire Department at 373-4850.