The City of Titusville, Florida / Fire & Emergency Services / NewsWHY HAVE A WEEK DEDICATED TO FIRE PREVENTION?
Titusville's Fire Chief, Michael Woodward, asks you this question, "Why do we have a week dedicated to fire prevention?" His answer--because the United States continues to lag behind developed countries in preventing fire dollar loss, fire injuries and fire deaths. Fire Prevention Week is dedicated to teaching children fire safety tactics and reminding adults that all of us are vulnerable when fires threaten. Please take proactive measures today: install smoke alarms and retrofit your house with fire sprinklers, develop and practice a family escape plan, be aware of fire safety hazards when cooking, grilling, heating your home and smoking--be safe!
About Fire Prevention Week
Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871. Since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls.
- In 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,910 civilian injuries, 2,520 civilian deaths, $6.9 billion in direct damage.
- On average, seven people died in U.S. home fires per day from 2007 to 2011.
- Cooking is the leading cause home fires and home fire injuries, followed heating equipment.
- Smoking is a leading cause of civilian home fire deaths.
- Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2012, 8 home fires killed five or more people resulting in a total of 44 deaths.
- Almost three of five (60%) of reported home fire deaths in 2007 to 2011 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
- In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 93% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 79% of the time.
- When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
- An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed, to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.
- Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows, discuss the plan with everyone in your home.
- Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
- Have an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet when they escape from the home. That way, you can tell if someone is still inside, possibly trapped, and alert the firefighters when they arrive on scene.
- Practice your home fire drill both at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year.
- Teach your children how to escape on their own in case your can't help them.
- Close doors behind you as you leave.
- If the smoke alarm sounds, GET OUT AND STAY OUT! Never go back inside for people or pets.
- If you have to escape through smoke, GET LOW AND GO under the smoke to your way out.
- Call the fire department from outside your home--don't delay escaping to make the call before exiting a home on fire. A fire can spread and build in intensity, preventing escape, in as little as 3 minutes.
All fire safety information courtesy of National Fire Protection Association. For further information regarding fire safety, contact www.nfpa.org or Titusville Life Safety Specialist Heather Gilmore, firstname.lastname@example.org 321-567-3804.