Fire Prevention Safety Week is the longest-running public health and safety observance on record in America. This year, the theme of Fire Prevention Safety Week is “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!” Looking ahead to the event, here are some tips and information on improving fire safety.
Use a Smoke Alarm
- Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying from a fire in half.
- Although only 1 in 5 home fires occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., 50 percent of fire fatalities occur during this stretch. Smoke alarms help to wake up potential victims in time to escape from a fire.
- From 2007-2011, 60 percent of fire fatalities occurred in homes that either had no smoke alarm or had no working alarm.
- An easy-to-fix yet common cause of smoke alarm failure is an issue with the batteries, such as when the batteries are dead, disconnected, or missing.
Have and Practice an Escape Plan
- Survey results taken by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reveal that most Americans either do not have a fire escape plan or have not practiced it.
- Despite what some may believe, the time to escape from a fire before it becomes life-threatening is often less than six minutes. The only way to know whether an escape plan can be executed in the time available is by practicing it.
Know the Possible Risks
- Two out of every five home fires start in the kitchen, and cooking-related fires accounted for 400 deaths and 5,080 injuries, along with $853 million in damage, from 2007 to 2011.
- Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries in the United States. Space heaters accounted for 33 percent of heater-caused fires and more than 80 percent of home heating deaths.
- One of the leading causes of cooking and heating-related fires was a failure to clean the equipment. Old build-up on equipment can cause ignition and spread of fire.
- Electrical fires average 450 deaths and $1.5 billion in property damage per year. The leading causes of electrical fires are electrical distribution or lighting equipment.
The best way to combat a home fire is to be prepared for the possibility that one may happen. Smoke alarms and escape plans are the most effective tools for fire survival, and being aware of what fire risks exist in the household is an important step toward fire safety.
About The Author: Jason Konvicka is a partner and trial attorney with Allen & Allen in Richmond, Virginia. During his 20+ year career, he has achieved numerous record-setting jury verdicts and substantial settlements on behalf of his clients. His practice focuses on medical malpractice, bus accidents and product liability personal injury cases. Outside of the courtroom, Jason is involved with the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and currently serves on its Board of Governors as Vice President.