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(WHNT) — October 3-9 has been designated as “National Fire Prevention Week” by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) – the organization that has sponsored the event for 99 years.

This year’s theme is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” with an emphasis on smoke alarms, the sounds they make, and how to respond to them.

“Smoke alarms have played a leading role in reducing fire death rates over the past 40 years, but we still have more work to do in maximizing their effectiveness,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.

According to the last NFPA report, working smoke alarms in homes reduce the risk of dying in a fire by 55 percent; however, almost three out of five home fire deaths happen with no smoke alarms in the house or alarms that failed to activate.

Key points from the “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” theme include:

  • Respond immediately by exiting your home when you hear a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm
  • If your alarm chirps, it could mean it’s time for a battery change, but if it continues to chirp after a battery change or if the device is over 10 years old, it may be time for a new alarm
  • Test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly by pressing the test button
  • Install bed shakers or strobe light alarms for anyone in the household who is deaf or hard of hearing
  • Know the difference between smoke and carbon monoxide alarms: three chirps for a smoke alarm, four for carbon monoxide

“Giving people the tools to properly respond to alarms sounding – whether it’s an actual fire or simply time to change a battery – can make a life-saving difference,” Carli continued.

For more information on Fire Prevention Week, visit