Fire Prevention Week October 5-11

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.   Even those these are statics, think about, seven real people, with families, jobs, and communities DIED every day.   Only one fire has to happen to impact you for the rest of your life.

Interestingly, cooking is the leading cause home fires and home fire injuries, followed heating equipment, but smoking is a leading of home fire deaths. 

How can we prevent fatalities from fires?  A simple solution, smoke alarms.  Almost 60% of reported home fire deaths were from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.  Having a working smoke alarms cuts the risk of dying in a home fire in half.  Several different  alarms are available on the market.  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.  Remember to check the batteries in smoke alarms.

In the workplace, fire extinguishers are the key to keeping small fires from becoming big fires.  Employers are required to provide portable fire extinguishers and shall mount, locate and identify them so that they are readily accessible to employees without subjecting the employees to possible injury and within 75’ of a possible fire. (Sounds kinda regulatoryish, doesn’t it?)   A few other ‘rules’ for the workplace include, fire extinguishers are required to be checked monthly and maintained annually.   Training on the use of fire extinguishers is required annually.  A great resource for free employee fire extinguisher training is http://www.fireextinguishertraining.com.  This online, interactive website can be used to train employees individually or as a group.  Once the final online test is passed, the site issues a certificate of completion for documentation.  Another resource is http://nicasafety.com/sample-page/.   Your company can find written safety plans, including Fire Extinguisher training as part of their monthly safety calendar.

Statistics from NFPA.org, Laws based on WAC 296-800-300 Summary–Portable fire extinguishers.