Fed Fire reminds residents to ‘Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety’
The 2021 National Fire Prevention Week theme is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety. What is your alarm telling you?” (Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

HONOLULU -- Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9 in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage.

This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.

The Federal Fire Department Region Hawaii would like to share the 2021 National Fire Prevention Week theme with everyone. “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety. What is your alarm telling you?”

Here are some answers from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on how to keep you, your family and your home safe.

Is there a beep or a chirp coming out of your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm? What does it all mean?

Knowing the difference can save you, your home and your family!

Make sure everyone in the home understands the sounds of the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and knows how to respond. Learn the sounds of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms by checking the user guide or search the brand and model online.

What is your alarm telling you?

Smoke Alarms
  • A continued set of three loud beeps – beep-beep-beep – means smoke of fire. Get out, call 9-1-1, and stay out.
  • A single “chirp” every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be changed.
  • All smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years.
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms
  • A continuous set of four loud beeps – beep-beep-beep-beep – means carbon monoxide is present in your home. Go outside, call 9-1-1 and stay out.
  • A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be replaced.
  • CO alarms also have “end of life” sounds that vary by manufacturer. This means it’s time to get a new CO alarm.
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.
Alarm Safety Tips
  • Install a bedside alert device that responds to the sound of the smoke and CO alarms. Use of a low frequency alarm can also wake a sleeping person with mild to severe hearing loss.
  • Sleep with your mobility device, glasses and phone close to your bed.
  • Keep pathways like hallways lit with night lights and free from clutter to make sure everyone can get out safely.
Hear a Beep, Get On Your Feet! Hear a Chirp, Make a Change!
Escape Planning

Plan Ahead! If a fire breaks out in your home, you may have only a few minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds.

Everyone needs to know what to do and where to go if there is a fire.

Escape Planning Tips

  • MAKE a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss the plan with everyone in your home.
  • KNOW at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
  • HAVE and outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.
  • PRACTICE your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year.
  • PRACTICE using different ways out.
  • TEACH children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • CLOSE the doors behind as you leave.

If An Alarm Sounds

  • If the smoke alarm sounds, GET OUT and STAY OUT. Never go back inside for people or pets.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, GET LOW and GO under the smoke to your way out.
  • CALL the fire department (9-1-1) from outside your home.

Did You Know?

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Install smoke alarms inside every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
  • According to a National Fire Protection Association survey, only one of every three Americans households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
  • While 71% of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 47% of those have practiced it.
  • One-third of Americans households who made an estimate thought they would have a least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out.

For more fire safety tips, visit the NFPA website https://www.nfpa.org/fpw and https://sparky.org/.

The Federal Fire Department provides fire protection and emergency medical services to all Department of Defense military installations on Oahu, including U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii. They also provide mutual aid to the City and County of Honolulu.