October is National Fire Prevention Month in commemoration of the Chicago fire of October 8, 1871, that lead to the deaths of 300 people and the destruction on 18,000 buildings. In spite of modern fire -resistant designs for cities, fires are still the third leading cause of injury related deaths in homes today, according to the Home Safety Council. In this day and age there are many preventative measures we can take both through technology and planning. Fire safety professionals are trying to raise the awareness of citizens because they find that the average person underestimates the likelihood of a home fire and yet in home fires cause the death of 3,400 deaths per year.
The president of the Home Safety Council stated in a media release on her council’s website that “Unfortunately, our research indicates that too many families don’t understand or appreciate the danger of home fires and as a result, have not taken even the most basic steps to prepare for a fire emergency,” She also emphasizes, “With less than three minutes to escape if a fire occurs, every home needs a well-rehearsed escape plan and working smoke alarms. They are critical to saving lives.”
The Home Safety Council has also found that 51% of respondents to their survey have smoke alarms in bedrooms of their homes but, most fatal fires start at night, leaving sleeping people vulnerable. Even less, 13%, have an escape plan and practice it, and less yet, 8%, have sprinklers installed in their homes. Furthermore, according to the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), most individuals who have a fire escape route for their home, don’t practice or maintain it.
There are many precautions to take to improve the safety of you and your family in the case of a home fire. The following are some common-sense recommendations:
- For more detailed information on how to improve your fire safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association.
- Install and Test Fire Alarms: Visit the home safety council’s fire safety page for detailed instructions on how to purchase and maintain the safest alarms.
- Visit MySafeHome.org to create a safety plan for your home.
- Install an In-Home Sprinkler System, an added layer of protection should a fire start in your home.
- Home Safety Council offers additional fire prevention measures at its website.
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