DMPS Participates in National Fire Prevention Week

Safety at school is one of the district’s top priorities. Schools practice fire drills six times each year and the Des Moines Fire Department partners with the district, offering curriculum supports that enhance knowledge of good safety practices at school and at home.

DMPS Public Safety is participating in Fire  Prevention Week, Oct. 3-9. The theme is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.” Please read the following from DMPS Safety Specialist Doug Richardson,  a Centers for Public Safety Excellence fire officer,  and nationally certified firefighter, fire instructor, and paramedic.

The DMPS Public Safety Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association — the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years — to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.” This year’s campaign, October 3-9, works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.

Is there a beep or a chirp coming out of your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm? Knowing the difference can save you, your home, and your family.

Chirping (typically one beep every 20-30 seconds) means check/replace the battery (consult instructions or label on the back of the alarm). An alarm (3 or 4 beeps followed by a brief pause) indicates the need to evacuate and call 9-1-1.

It’s important to learn the different sounds of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. When an alarm makes noise—a beeping sound or a chirping sound—you must take action! Make sure everyone in the home understands the sounds of the alarms and knows how to respond. To learn the sounds of your specific smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, check the manufacturer’s instructions that came in the box, or search the brand and model online.

All schools are equipped with smoke/heat detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. In school and at home, all students and staff should be familiar with their surroundings and be aware of escape routes and plans in each building.

Here are a few tips for installing smoke alarms in your home:

  • Choose smoke alarms that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations.
  • Smoke alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet (3 meters) from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
  • Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises).
  • Wall-mounted alarms should be installed not more than 12 inches away from the ceiling (to the top of the alarm).

Be safe. Be smart. Have a plan. For more general information about Fire Prevention Week, visit