News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 09/28/2010
Subject :

Community Encouraged to Participate in October's National Fire Prevention Week
Residents Also Urged to Replace Ionization Smoke Alarms with Photoelectric
Contact : Gordon Simpkinson, Acting Fire Marshal    650-329-2347
Palo Alto, CA - The Palo Alto Fire Department is inviting residents to meet their firefighters at six different locations in town on Sunday October 3 and Saturday October 9 in commemoration of National Fire Week from October 3-9. 

The theme of this year's Fire Prevention Week is "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You can Live With." This year, the Palo Alto Fire Department urges residents to replace the ionization smoke alarms found in 90% of homes with photoelectric alarms. Ionization alarms have been found to have significant delays in warning of deadly smoldering fires.  

Now is the perfect time to upgrade to safer photoelectric alarms. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, and most households have alarms that are old enough to have a significant chance of failure in an emergency. A helpful website on smoke alarms can be found at the Fire Department web page:

Residents are also urged to place a carbon monoxide alarm in any dwelling that has an attached garage or gas-burning equipment to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in case of accidental exposure.

When not responding to emergencies, the firefighters will at the following locations:

Sunday, Oct 3 – 10 AM - noon

  • California Avenue Farmers Market (exception, event here goes from 9 AM to noon)
  • Town and Country Center
  • Charleston Shopping Center

Saturday, Oct. 9 - 10 AM to noon

  • Lytton Plaza
  • Midtown Plaza Shopping Center
  • Midtown Safeway
Firefighters will answer questions and provide fun fire safety activity handouts for children and fire safety tips for family members. All are welcome to take pictures with the firefighters and their state-of-the-art Pierce Arrow XT fire engines.

In addition, the 15th annual fire safety poster contest is being conducted in all K-5 Palo Alto elementary schools. The poster contest winners will be announced in November and award presentations will be made to each contest winner at their respective schools in late November and early December. Winning posters will be displayed on the wall near the City Council Chamber on the 1st floor of City Hall and on the Fire Department web page.

About National Fire Prevention Week
This week commemorates the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire that burned for almost three days in October 1871, killing over 300 persons and destroying numerous businesses, homes and other buildings. In 2009, fires in the United States claimed the lives of 3,010 civilians and caused $12.5 billion in property losses. Residents and families are strongly encouraged to be better informed and prepared regarding fire safety, as 85 percent of all fire deaths occur in the home. More information about fire safety and prevention can be found on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) website at