In 2000, 13 children between the ages of 18 months and 14 years died in fires in their homes in Kansas. A working smoke detector and a well-rehearsed home escape plan could have saved several of these young lives. Simple fire prevention techniques could have prevented many of these fires from ever occurring in the first place.
During Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, the National Fire Protection Association is promoting "Cover the Bases & Strike Out Fire!" a nationwide home fire safety program that helps families prevent fires and prepares them to survive a fire in their home.
Past Fire Prevention Week campaigns have concentrated on escaping fire in the home. This year’s theme brings America’s pastime and fire safety together to teach people the simple steps they can take to prevent cooking, heating and electrical distribution fires, which represent the three leading causes of fires in the home.
The campaign is divided into four areas, representing the three bases and home plate in a baseball diamond.
"Sprinting for First" covers cooking fires, the leading cause of home fires and home fire casualties. On average, there are over 91,000 home fires nationwide associated with cooking equipment, accounting for over 300 fire deaths annually.
Heating safety is covered in "Heading for Second." Heating fires are the second leading cause of home fires, except during the months of December, January and February, when heating becomes the leading cause of fires in the home. Nationwide there is an average of nearly 60,000 home fires caused by heating equipment. These fires cause an average of over 460 deaths. Most heating fires are caused by space heaters and other supplemental heating devices, not central furnaces.
A triple has been called the most electrifying play in baseball so electrical safety is covered in "Rounding Third." An average of over 350 people are killed annually in 38,400 fire caused by electrical service.
Electrical shock, not resulting in fire, also causes hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries.
"Home Plate" details what is necessary for a family to safely escape fire in the home. While 80 percent of all fire deaths in the U.S. occur in the home, a working smoke in the home cuts the chance of dying in a fire nearly in half. Every household should also develop and rehearse a home escape plan that includes two ways out of every room and an outside meeting place.
According to State Fire Marshal Gale Haag, " Even in the midst of a great national tragedy, like the terrorist attack on America on September 11, all of us dedicated to fire and life safety find every fire death, especially the death of a child, to be a tragedy, especially in a fire that could have been prevented. I urge all Kansans to observe Fire Prevention Week and use it as a time to learn more about how to protect themselves from fire in the home."
Families can obtain more information on "Cover the Bases & Strike
Out Fire!" by visiting the NFPA Website at www.fire-preventionweek.org
or by contacting their local fire department.