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What is fire prevention week?

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Every October fire departments throughout the country host the granddaddy of fire education and awareness know as Fire Prevention Week. During National Fire Prevention Week, attention is focused on promoting fire safety and prevention in the home, as well as in the work place; however, fire prevention should be practiced all year long.

This year's Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 5-11, and the theme is "Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month."

Did you know that many people do not test their smoke alarms as often as they should. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms, sound the alarm to give you time to get out of the home in the event of a fire emergency. A properly functioning smoke alarm doubles your chance of surviving a fire by warning you of a dangerous situation before it's too late.

In base housing there should be a smoke alarm on every level of your home including the sleeping areas. All alarms in your home should be tested every month for at least 30 seconds. All smoke alarms have a test button that when pushed, causes the alarm to sound. Also the smoke alarm have either a blinking or a solid light that glows to let you know that the alarm is getting power.

Once a month if you push the test button and do not hear anything, the smoke alarm is not working. Forest City should be notified if your smoke alarm is not working properly. They should repair or replace the smoke alarm. Also during your monthly test, brush or vacuum the smoke alarm to keep dirt and dust out of the mechanism. Never use cleaning spray or solvents that can enter the unit and contaminate its sensors.

In the event your smoke alarm goes off, you have only seconds to respond. There is absolutely no time to gather possessions or pets. Your best response is to leave your home immediately, gather at your prearranged meeting place, and call 911 from your cell phone or a neighbor's home. Once you are out of the home, stay out until you are cleared to return by the senior fire officer on scene if possible.

Remember it is very important to practice your home fire drills by using your smoke alarm to sound the alarm so that everyone will know its sound and respond quickly to evacuate the home in an emergency.

There is one point to remember, if your smoke alarm goes off while you are cooking - Do not disable the alarm! Wave a towel or piece of paper near the alarm to clear the air. The smoke alarm is there to warn you, if disabled it will not function.

The Keesler Air Force Base Fire Department will observe Fire Prevention Week by having demonstrations throughout the base and conducting no notice fire drills in base facilities.

On Oct. 11, at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the fire department, , will be hosting its Fire Prevention Week Open House at Bldg. 4225. The event is scheduled to have fire truck rides, the fire safety house, games, free food and drinks, door prizes and Sparky the Fire Dog. If there are any questions concerning Fire Prevention Week activities and smoke alarms, contact the Fire Prevention section of the base Fire Department at 377-3330/3333.