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Protect your family from fire

The Fire Prevention Week 2011 theme is “Protect Your Family From Fire”

The Fire Prevention Week 2011 theme is “Protect Your Family From Fire”

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The week of Oct. 9 is Fire Prevention Week, and the 21st Fire and Emergency Services is having a fire prevention fair from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 8 at the base exchange.

Activities include a fire safety trailer that simulates thunder, lightning and smoke, as well as a life-size fire truck bounce house, fire extinguisher trainer, Sparky the Fire Dog and his friends Freddie the Fire Truck and Pluggie, and fun and prizes for all.

The purpose of Fire Prevention Week is two-fold; it reaffirms the importance of fire safety and awareness as well as pay tribute to firefighters, volunteers and first responders who put themselves in harm's way to protect lives, homes and communities every day. Every year the National Fire Protection Association develops a theme aimed at curbing evolving trends. This year, there is no flashy phrase and it doesn't even rhyme, but it's no less important.

The message this year is simple: It's "Fire Prevention Week! Protect Your Family from Fire!" Home fires are responsible for the majority of fire-related deaths and injuries each year. For this reason, this year's focus is on protecting families at home.

Below are a few general facts regarding home fire safety. They are relevant to all of us, whether we live off-base, in base housing or in the dorms.

Home Fires
· One home structure fire was reported every 87 seconds in 2009.
· On average, seven people died in home fires every day. Adults 65 and over face the highest risk of fire death.
· In 2009, U.S. fire departments responded to 362,500 home fires. These fires caused 12,650 civilian injuries, 2,565 civilian deaths, and $7.6 billion in direct damage.

Escape Planning
· According to an NFPA survey, less than one-fourth of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
· Almost three-quarters of Americans have an escape plan; however, less than half actually practiced it.
· One-third of American households estimated they would have at least six minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8 percent said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!

Smoke Alarms
· Roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms, and nearly one in five smoke alarm failures was due to a dead battery.
· Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires by half.
· In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 91 percent of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 75 percent of the time.

Home Fire Sprinklers
· Automatic fire sprinkler systems cut the risk of dying in a home fire by about 80 percent.
· Home fire sprinklers can contain and may extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene.
· Sprinklers are highly effective because they react so quickly in a fire. They reduce the risk of death or injury from a fire because they dramatically reduce the heat, flames and smoke produced, allowing people time to evacuate the home.

Cooking
· Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires and associated injuries, which tied as the third leading cause of home fire deaths.
· Unattended cooking was, by far, the leading cause of these fires.
· Households using electric ranges have a higher risk of fires than those using gas ranges.
· Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking than being burned in a cooking fire.
· U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 155,400 cooking-related home fires each year between 2005-2009, causing an average of 390 deaths, 4,800 injuries and $771 million in direct property damage.

Heating
· Fires involving heating equipment peak in December, January and February, as do deaths from these fires. Overall, homes fires and home fire deaths are more common in the cooler months.
· Heating equipment was the second leading cause of reported home fires and home fire deaths.
· The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
· Half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
· U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 64,100 heating-related home fires each year between 2005-2009, causing an average of 560 deaths, 1,620 injuries and $904 million in direct property damage.

Smoking Materials
· The risk of dying in a home structure fire caused by smoking materials rises with age.
· In recent years, Canada and the United States have required that all cigarettes sold must be "fire safe," that is have reduced ignition strength and less likely to start fires.
· U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 18,900 smoking-related home fires each year from 2005-2009, causing an average of 660 deaths, 1,270 injuries and $492 million in direct property damage annually.

Electrical
· 41 percent of home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment.
· 53 percent of home electrical fires involved other known types of equipment, including ranges, washers/dryers, fans and space heaters.
· During 2005-2009, electrical distribution and lighting equipment was involved in the ignition of 23,400 home structure fires, on average, per year. These fires caused an average of 390 deaths, 970 injuries and $822 million in direct property damage.

Candles
· On average, there are 35 home candle fires reported per day.
· Roughly two-fifths of these fires started in the bedroom.
· More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.
· During 2005-2009, candles caused an average of 12,900 home fires, 140 home fire deaths, 1,040 home fire injuries and $471 million in direct property damage.

This list is of course not all inclusive, but is meant to increase our fire safety awareness in the home. Please take the time to evaluate your home, so that you too, can Protect Your Family from Fire.

(Information provided by National Fire Protection Association.)

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