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Get Ready for Fire Safety Month

Fire Prevention Week is coming soon. Do you have a plan for how you’ll use the week to promote fire safety?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) organizes Fire Prevention Week as part of its ongoing campaign to educate the public on fire safety. This year, it is October 8-14 and offers independent home improvement retailers a good opportunity to promote fire safety products and reinforce the safety message in the store. Here are some ways to make the most of Fire Prevention Week this year.

Have the Right Products

To draw attention to the fire safety products you carry, promote them on an endcap as well as in advertising. Smoke detectors need to be tested frequently. Use social media or in-store signage to remind customers to make sure the equipment in their home is working. Remind customers that fire prevention isn’t just about having a working smoke alarm. There are several other products that can make a home safe:

  • Fire extinguishers for both the kitchen and garage,
  • A fire escape ladder for second story rooms,
  • A carbon monoxide detector,
  • A long-handled brush to clear out lint from dryer vents and hoses, and
  • GFCI receptacles in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room.

Educate Your Customers

In addition to selling fire safety products, make sure customers have a solid plan for what to do in case of a fire at home. Here are just a few recommendations from NFPA.

  • Have a map of the home, with two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice the fire drill twice a year. Make sure children know how to escape on their own.
  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom and on every level of the home.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month and replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. This website also has many resources you can use to educate your customers and promote Fire Prevention Week, including coloring pages for children, messages for social media pages, stickers, posters and news releases.

Educate Your Staff

This is also the time for staff to refresh their product knowledge on fire safety products. Review the different types of fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. There have also been several new product developments with the introduction of smart smoke alarm technology. All staff should know how to operate and install these items and be prepared for customers’ questions.

NRHA also has several training materials that can help. Here are two videos you can use in staff meetings to refresh fire safety product knowledge.

Click Here for a video on basic fire safety at home.
Click Here for a video on installing and maintaining smoke alarms

Host Fire Safety Activities

Organizing an event around fire prevention and safety will help draw attention to this category. One sure way to get attention is to invite the local fire department to park a truck in front of the store. Firefighters can answer customers’ questions about what to do during an emergency or on the proper use of fire extinguishers. Some retailers have also used the occasion to allow local fire departments to conduct fundraisers. Having activities for children is also a great way to get families to come to the event as you emphasize the importance of home safety.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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