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Albuquerque Firefighters to Visit 5,000 School Children

Members of the Albuquerque Fire Marshal’s Office will begin visiting several local schools next week to teach students the importance of having smoke alarms.

The increased effort is part of National Fire Prevention Week and comes two weeks after a one year-old baby was killed in an apartment fire in the Northeast Heights. It is unknown if the smoke alarm in the apartment was working. A recent inspection by the Safe City Strike Force found about 30 non-working smoke alarms in the apartment complex.

“It’s simple. Smoke alarms save lives,” Mayor Richard J. Berry said. “It costs less than $10 to buy a smoke alarm from a department store. That’s a small price to pay for a device which could potentially save your life.”

Firefighters will be visiting about 40 Albuquerque schools passing out questionnaires for children to take home to their parents and bring back to school. When the children bring their questionnaire back they will receive prizes such as coloring books, stickers and toy firefighter hats. The questionnaire asks seven questions such as:

• Does your home have a smoke alarm outside each sleeping area?
• Do you know how old your smoke alarms are?
• Do you test your batteries during daylight savings?
• Do you test your smoke alarm each month?
• Do you practice your escape plan each month?
• Do you know more than one way out of your home?
• Do you have a meeting place?

Also, the fire department recently revamped its web site to include information about how to protect your home from fire. People can visits for fire prevention information. The Fire Marshall’s Office will also supply smoke alarms to low-income families on a limited basis.

Since 2005, there have been 26 fire deaths in the city of Albuquerque. In more than half of those deaths (14), the homes didn’t have smoke alarms. Nationally about two-thirds of all home fire deaths occurred in homes that didn’t have working fire extinguishers.

Each year the National Fire Prevention Association sponsors a week in October in order to educate the public on fire safety. The week runs until Oct. 9 and this year the association has made smoke alarms its focus and adopted the theme “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With.”