Jan Doherty, Public Education Officer, No Phone Number Available
Friday, October 9, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.
As a nation we use this month to not only remember the Great Chicago Fire but to continue improving the fire and building codes that contributed to the death of 250 persons, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and left 100,000 persons homeless on October 9, 1871.
Each year the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) designates a theme to encourage Americans to look at the fire safety issues in their own homes. This year the theme is “Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP” because most deadly home fires occur between 11 PM and 7 AM, the hours when people are asleep.
This message is important since three of every five persons who died in a residential fire last year were living in a space that lacked a working smoke alarm. In some cases the batteries were dead or missing. In other incidents there were no alarms in the home or the ones installed were too old to still be functional.
According to the NFPA, smoke alarms cut the risk in half of dying in a residential fire. Smoke alarms have been required in all rental units in Washington State since December 1981. According to WAC 51-51-0314, smoke alarms must be installed (1) in each sleeping room; (2) outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms; (3) on each story of the dwelling including basements and habitable attics and (4) in napping areas in a family home child care.