October 5-11 is National Fire Prevention Week 2014; and this year’s focus is on smoke alarms. These life-saving devices are more important than many people realize, with three of five (approximately 60%) of home fire fatalities being the result of fires in homes with either no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms, between 2007 and 2011. There are many other factors which contribute to home fires, and many related facts are included on the website of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which sponsors National Fire Prevention Week and has since its inception in 1922.
Compelling Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Facts
The calamitous Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was the chief inspiration for National Fire Prevention Week, and NFPA’s goal is to educate the public about leading causes of home fires and to provide important tips on staying safe. Schools and communities are involved in the campaign every year. The following facts are shared by the NFPA in conjunction with National Fire Prevention Week 2014:
- From 2007 to 2011, an average of seven people died in U.S. home fires every day.
- The leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries is cooking, and heating equipment is the second leading cause.
- Smoking is another leading cause of home fire deaths.
- In fatal fires, usually one or two people die. In 2012, however, eight home fires killed five people or more, for a total of 44 home fire fatalities.
- The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half with the use of working smoke alarms.
- If a smoke alarm fails to operate when needed, it is usually because of disconnected, missing, or dead batteries.
- The NFPA urges families to develop a fire escape plan and practice the plan, something only one-third of U.S. families have done, according to a survey.
- An NFPA survey revealed that only 8% of the respondents said that, upon hearing a smoke alarm, their first thought was to get out. About 32% of respondents also thought they had 6 minutes to get out of their homes safely, but the time to get out is often less – about 3 minutes is the most people in many styles of modern homes have.
- In 34% of reported fires related to home cooking, unattended cooking is a factor.
- The leading cause of heating equipment fires is a failure to clean the equipment, and this primarily applies to chimneys which have a buildup of flammable creosote.
- About 4 of 5 deaths from heating fires involve portable or fixed space heaters.
- In about 31% of home smoking material fire fatalities, sleep was a factor.
- Electrical malfunctions or failures cause about 48,000 home fires every year and result in approximately 450 fatalities and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.
- Approximately 32 home candle fires are reported every day.
- About 56% of all home candle fires start when combustible materials are too close to the flame.
Fire Safety – Just for Kids
The NFPA recognizes that saving lives means getting children involved with fire safety. Since 1951, Sparky the Fire Dog® has been a spokesdog for the organization. Sparky is featured across the nation during Fire Prevention Week and at schools and community events year-around, as well. Materials and videos are available on Sparky’s website, all aimed at teaching children about fire safety.
Here’s a great video about the importance of following your smoke alarm signals:
Contact us today for your annual chimney inspection and cleaning, to be ready for safe use of your fireplace or wood stove when the cold weather arrives.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc.
formerly Nayaug Chimney Services, LLC
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110