Fire Prevention Week is under way

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – Fire Prevention Week takes place Oct. 3 to 9. The theme this year is, "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!"

Georgia law now requires a smoke alarm in every home. The Georgia Dept. of Insurance reminds homeowners to install working smoke alarms on every level, and inside and outside of each sleeping area. Replace the smoke alarm batteries each year.

Two different technologies are used to detect smoke: an ionization detector, which senses charged particles called ions and the photoelectric detector, which senses a reduction or reflection of light when smoke flows between a light beam and a sensor, according to the Georgia Dept. of Insurance. Ionization detectors tend to respond more quickly to flaming fires with smaller combustion particles. Photoelectric detectors typically respond more quickly to smoldering fires. Some detectors combine both methods and are probably the most effective, according to the insurance department.

"Most fatal fires start between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., while the family is asleep" said Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine said in a statement. "Nine out of 10 fire victims are already dead before the fire department is even called, mainly from smoke and toxic gases.  The advance warning of a smoke alarm can mean the difference between life and death."

Tips from the Georgia Dept. of Insurance:

  • If the smoke alarm sounds: Go to your closest exit.
  • If you run into smoke, turn and use another way out.
  • If you must exit through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit.
  • Don't take time to pick up belongings; just get out and help others get out. Move fast but stay calm.
  • Once out of the house, stay out.
  • Fatalities occur every year when people try to go back inside a burning home, usually to retrieve possessions.

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