Fire Safety Awareness

 Fire Safety Awareness

Fire Prevention and Safety Grants


All information provided by FEMA and the United States Fire Administration and can be found at


Smoke Alarms:


- Why Should I have a working smoke alarm?

        A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the only thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you’re awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert, scanning the air for fire and smoke.

         According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.


- Smoke Alarm Maintenance

         Is your smoke alarm still working? Smoke alarms must be maintained! A smoke alarm with a dead or missing battery is the same as having no smoke alarm at all.

         A smoke alarm only works when it is properly installed and maintained. Depending on how your smoke alarm is powered (9-volt, 10-year lithium, or hardwired), you’ll have to maintain it according to manufacturer’s instructions. General guidelines for smoke alarm maintenance:

1.      Smoke alarm powered by a 9-volt battery

         Test the alarm monthly.

         Replace the batteries at least once per year.

         The entire smoke alarm unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.

2.      Smoke alarm powered by a 10-year lithium (or “long life”) battery

·         Test the alarm monthly.

·         Since you cannot (and should not) replace the lithium battery, the entire smoke alarm unit should be replaced according to manufacturer’s instructions.

3.      Smoke alarm that is hardwired into the home’s electrical system

·         Test the alarm monthly.

·         The backup battery should be replaced at least once per year.

·         The entire smoke alarm unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.

- What types of smoke alarms are available?

         There are many different brands of smoke alarms available on the market, but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.

         It cannot be stated definitively that one is better than the other in every fire situation that could arise in a residence. Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different, yet potentially fatal fires, and because no one can predict what type of fire might start in a home, the USFA recommends that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with:

1.      Both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms, OR dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors

         In addition to the basic types of alarms, there are alarms made to meet the needs of people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to assist in alerting those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.


- Install smoke alarms in key areas of your home

         Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or early in the morning, so the U.S. Fire Administration recommends installing smoke alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas.

         Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible. Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions

- Are smoke alarms expensive?

        Smoke alarms are not expensive and are worth the lives they can help save. Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms cost between $6 and $20. Dual sensor smoke alarms cost between $24 and $40.

-Links for more information on smoke alarms for deaf and hard of hearing


Escape Plan:

·         In the event of a fire, remember that every second counts, so you and your family must always be prepared. Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames.

·         Prepare and practice your fire escape plan twice a year with everyone in your household, including children and people with disabilities. It's also a good idea to practice your plan with overnight guests. Some tips to consider when preparing your escape plan include:

1.      Draw a map of each level of your home and show all doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily.

2.      Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Use the ladder only in a real emergency.

3.      Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them.

4.      Have a plan for everyone in your home who has a disability.

5.      Practice your fire escape plan at night and during the daytime.

- Immediately Leave the Home

·         When a fire occurs, get out fast: you may only have seconds to escape safely. Take the safest exit route, but if you must escape through smoke, remember to crawl low, under the smoke and keep your mouth covered. The smoke contains toxic gases, which can disorient you or, at worst, overcome you.

- Never Open Doors that are Hot to the Touch

·         When you come to a closed door, feel the doorknob and door to make sure that fire is not on the other side. If either is hot, leave the door closed and use your secondary escape route. If the door feels cool, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.

·         If you can't get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors to keep the smoke out. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. Say where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.

- Designate a Meeting Place Outside and Take Attendance

·         Designate a meeting location a safe distance in front of your home. For example, meet under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or front sidewalk to make sure everyone has gotten out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe. Make sure everyone in your home knows how to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number and that your house number can be seen day or night from the street.

- Once Out, Stay Out

·         Remember to escape first and then notify the fire department using the 9-1-1 system or proper local emergency number in your area. Never go back into a burning building for any reason. Teach children not to hide from firefighters. If someone is missing, or pets are trapped inside your home, tell the firefighters right away. They are equipped to perform rescues safely.

-Links on how to create a home fire escape plan, as well as general escape plan information


 Holiday Home Fires:


- Facts

·         One of every three home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems.

·         Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires.

·         A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every six of Christmas tree fires.

·         More than half (56%) of home candle fires occur when something that can catch on fire is too close to the candle.

·         December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December 11% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.

·         On average, 42 home candle fires are reported every day.

·         More than half of all candle fires start when something that could burn, such as furniture, mattresses or bedding, curtains, or decorations is too close to the candle.

·         In one-fifth (20%) of candle fires, the candles are unattended or abandoned.

·         Over one-third (36%) of home candle fires begin in the bedroom.

·         Falling asleep is a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 36% of the associated deaths.

·         December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.  In December, 13% of home candle fires begin with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.

·         One-half of home candle fire deaths occur between Midnight and 6 am.

·         Young children and older adults have the highest death risk from candle fires.

·         The risk of fatal candle fires appears higher when candles are used for light.

·         905 people die in winter home fires each year.

·         $2,091,000,000 in property loss occurs from winter home fires.

·         5 to 8 p.m. is the most common time for winter home fires.




         Consider using battery-operated or electric flameless candles and fragrance warmers, which can look, smell and feel like real candles – without the flame.

         If you do use candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.

         Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas.

         Extinguish candles after use and before going to bed.

         Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn.

         Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.

         Never put candles on a Christmas tree.

         And NEVER leave burning candles unattended!


-Links for more information on and proper tree maintenance





Special thanks to Chris Hansen to his contributions to this project.

Meet the Production Team

Mary Ann Shanahan - Emmy Award Winning Producer
Producer, director, and project manager for this media campaign.  Over the past two decades, Mary has successfully partnered with CPTV on a variety of projects.


Chris Hansen - Emmy Award Winning Journalist, known for his work on Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator

Host of three engaging vignettes targeted towards audiences above age 65. Chris is a resident of Fairfield County and was moved to donate his time because of the Christmas Day tragedy in Stamford.


Tish Rabe - Children’s book author, widely known for her titles featured on PBS shows such as Sesame Street, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Cat in the Hat.
Tish will write three original vignettes targeted for children up to age fourteen.


Will Shanahan -Co-Producer

Graduate of University of Colorado, with experience at Datelineas assistant producer.  Will now works with both TV and corporate clients.