SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– Every year National Fire Prevention week is celebrated on the week of Oct. 9, to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. South Walton Fire District is here to ensure that fires are prevented entirely as nearly 80% of fires start in homes, and it is estimated that 2,500 people lose their life in a fire yearly.
Fire Marshal, Sammy Sanchez said that it is best to replace smoke detectors each month.
“Every month you should check your smoke alarm to see if it is working properly. You should also change the batteries twice a year, think of how you change the clocks twice a year so it is easy to remember. Also, smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years,” said Sanchez.
South Walton Fire District provides free smoke alarms for seniors in the area, and is available to answer any questions the public may have.
Sanchez also recommends that you brush up your skills on how to use a fire extinguisher, and to invest in one if you do not have it. He added they are available at most hardware stores.
“A lot of people know where they are or if they have them, but they don’t know how to use them,” he said.
Sanchez said that to properly use a fire extinguisher to remember the acronym P.A.S.S.
“Pull the pin. Aim at the base of the fire. Squeeze the handle. Sweep from side to side,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez also said that it is a common misconception that fire extinguishers fully put out a full-on fire.
“Typically they last only up to 15 seconds, if the flames are still actively burning upon use, call 911,” he said.