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According to the National Fire Protection Association, Fire Prevention Week was “established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250, 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.”
Every year, the NFPA focuses on a theme in honor of fire prevention. In the past, themes have included Preventing Kitchen Fires, Having 2 Ways Out, Practice Escape Plans, and more. This year, the NFPA and the Mehlville Firefighters are focusing on smoke alarm awareness.
According to NFPA.org:
- In 2011, U.S. fire departments resonded to 370,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,910 civilian injuries, 2,520 civilian deaths, and $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 of home fires and home fire injuries.
- Smoking is the 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 form 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.
Visit the National Fire Protection Agency site for more Fast Facts About Fire.
Further resources available from the Mehlville Firefighters:
All of this and more can be seen on our Public Safety Tips page.