Fire Prevention Week: How to Recycle Old Fire Safety Supplies

This week, Oct. 5-9, marks Fire Prevention Week — an awareness campaign from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that has been educating Americans since its inception in 1925 under President Calvin Coolidge. After decades of observing a week of remembrance for the survivors of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the U.S. government turned the commemoration into a way to teach citizens about the leading causes of structure fires. This year, the campaign’s theme “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!TM,” and focuses on ways to prevent kitchen fires— the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries. This includes retiring old and outdated fire safety equipment in your home.

Recyclespot.org provides information and resources about how to safely dispose of old and outdated fire safety equipment. A smoke detector’s lifespan is 10 years. Do you know how to dispose of it when the time comes? Did you know that there are four types of smoke detectors (ionization, photoelectric, dual-sensor and ones detect both smoke and carbon monoxide), and that the NFPA recommends having both an ionization AND photoelectric detector, or one with a dual-sensor? Ionization smoke detectors can be hazardous if damaged and not disposed of correctly! Read their blog for more information on this and mail back programs you can take part in, or check out Recyclespot.org for your smoke detector disposal drop-off options.

An important tool for all kitchens is a usable fire extinguisher. Although extinguishers don’t have a true “expiration date”, they tend to have a useful life of 10-12 years. When you dispose of your old smoke detectors, be sure to check your extinguisher for signs of aging:

  • Cracked or blocked nozzles
  • Missing or unsealed locking pins
  • Wobbly or broken handles
  • Missing inspection sticker (if an inspection from a fire safety professional is how you have been keeping track of its maintenance)

If it’s time to say goodbye to your current extinguisher, these companies will recycle it for you: Keller Fire & Safety (KCK), The Red Force Fire and Security (Independence), Cintas (Lenexa), Marmic Fire & Safety (Grandview),  and Phoenix Fire Systems (Olathe).