To the editor:
Oct. 5-11 is National Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Working Smoke Detectors Save Lives. Test Yours Every Month.” Fire Prevention Week was started by the National Fire Prevention Association after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, during which 300 people died and 100,000 were left homeless.
In our beloved East End area covered by Times/Review Newspapers, we have witnessed far too many household fires in the past several years. Some of these fires were fatal. A household fire does not need to result in death if early warning systems are in place.
The smoke alarm is still the least expensive and most effective device to alert individuals to a household fire. Yet, in my 15 years of providing life safety services to the East End, my staff and I have witnessed numerous occasions where homeowners have removed batteries or entire smoke detectors from their own homes.
Why? Because it’s easy to procrastinate on simple tasks like testing or replacing batteries on a device we hope we never need to use. A household fire occurs in the United States every 83 seconds, resulting in over 3,000 deaths per year. Sadly, of those fatalities, when a smoke detector failed, 75 percent of the time it was due to missing, disconnected or dead batteries.
I encourage your readers to invest a small amount of time and money in testing, repairing and adding smoke detectors to their homes. I also recommend a visit to your local firehouse to learn more about fire safety from the brave men and women we call on to respond — our volunteer firefighters.
Paul Romanelli, Southold
president, Suffolk Security Systems