More than 1.3 million fires were reported in 2017, resulting in an estimated 3,400 civilian deaths and 15,000 civilian injuries, and resulting in $23 billion in property loss.
There were 379,000 residential structure fires, an increase of 7,500 fires from 2016. Of these fires, 262,500 occurred in one- and two-family homes, accounting for 53 percent of all structure fires. Another 95,000 fires occurred in apartments, 19 percent of the structure fire total. The total number of home fires for 2017 was 357,000.
In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. Fire safety education isn’t just for school children. Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take some time every October during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week runs from Oct. 7-13. The campaign of “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere” works to educate people about three basic but essential steps to take to reduce the likelihood of having a fire––and how to escape safely in the event of one:
▪ Look for places fire could start. Take a good look around your home. Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them;
▪ Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm. You could have only minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the home and where everyone should know to meet;
▪ Learn two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
People should contact their local fire prevention office at 256-3378 for any fire prevention questions or concerns.