Since 1980, the Los Angeles City Fire Department has undertaken a vigorous campaign to educate the public on the merits of smoke detectors. It is our conclusion, proven by extensive studies, that smoke detectors have been responsible for a reduction in the number of lives lost in home fires during the past six years.
National statistics indicate that the risk of life loss in a home fire that has installed smoke detectors is 50% less than a home that has none. Put another way, a person who suffers a home fire and has not installed smoke detectors is twice as likely to die as the person who experiences a fire and is protected by smoke detectors.
There is a misconception by the general public about their ability to escape should a fire occur in their home. This misconception is particularly deadly if the fire occurs between midnight and 8 a.m. Most people believe that the smell of the smoke will wake them and they will be able to safely escape. In fact, almost all smoke contains carbon monoxide, a very toxic gas, which causes drowsiness, unconsciousness, and subsequently a silent death for the hapless sleeper.
The Los Angeles City Fire Department feels that the real challenge is to maintain the momentum that has begun with the installation of smoke detectors--thereby preventing unnecessary deaths caused by fire.
DONALD O. MANNING
and General Manager
Los Angeles City