In the spring of 2008 the Russell Fire Department surveyed the residents who live in the North East sector of the village about smoke alarms in their homes. The goal of this survey was to determine the compliance level of the homes within this sector and to assess where we have to improve our public education program. Of the 319 homes we entered 57 did not comply with the laws regarding smoke alarms. These homes were issued 24 hour warnings and upon returning all these homes did comply. The main reason for non compliance in 28 of the homes was that they did not have a smoke alarm on every level of their home. The law requiring smoke alarms on each level is now over two years old, yet 17.4% of the homes visited were not aware of this law. This is an improvement over last years results where 24% of the people visit were not aware of the law. The second most common reason for non compliance was finding smoke alarms with no power, this was usually due to the battery being missing, and this was found in 22 homes.
One other area of great concern is the lack of homes that actually have a fire escape plan; only 37% of the homes visited have ever practiced a fire escape plan and only 10% have actually practiced one in the last six months. Home fire escape plans are obviously not mandated by law as they are in schools, however it is proven that you are more likely to be exposed to a structure fire in your own home than anywhere else. It is also known that most home fires start in the middle of the night, so being prepared is an obvious advantage to survival.
The results of the 2007 survey are as follows;
· Number of homes visited: 404
· Number of homes entered: 319
· Number of homes refused entry to: 20
· Number of homes nobody home (minimum of 2 visits) : 65
· Number of homes not aware of the law: 59
· Number of homes that did not comply with the law on first visit: 57
· Number of homes that have ever practiced a fire escape plan: 118
· Number of homes that practiced a fire escape plan in the last six months: 33
Next week we will be breaking down some other interesting information gathered during the survey.