One of our Paul Davis restoration professionals instructs his family to say a silent prayer every time they pull over for a speeding fire truck. If everyone in North America did that, there sadly would be a lot of roadside praying – a home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds in 2010. We don’t want you to become one of those statistics. To commemorate Fire Prevention Week, we suggest you ask the following questions to spur you to prepare, ease your peace of mind, and protect your family!
1. Will my family be able to get out safely if there’s a fire in our home?
Why it’s important: In 2010, there were an estimated 369,500 home structure fires in the U.S., resulting in 2,640 deaths.
What you should know: Once your fire alarm sounds, you may have as little as two minutes to safely evacuate. Yet only 23 percent of households have (and have practiced!) a fire escape route.
Peace of mind tip: Read the National Fire Protection Association’s “Escape Planning” handout and update your family’s own fire escape routes. Make sure you have two ways out of your home in an emergency and practice evacuations!
2. How will my elderly parents or grandparents fare in an emergency?
Why it’s important: Compared to the general population, adults 65 or older—who make up 12 percent of the U.S. and Canada—are twice as likely to be injured or killed by fires.
What you should know: Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in this age group; each year, 30 percent of adults over the age of 65 are involved in at least one fall. A fall can be deadly when there are only two minutes to safely evacuate in a fire.
Peace of mind tip: Check out the NFPA’s tips on teaching at-risk community members about fire safety and escape plans. Consider hosting a fire safety open house for older adults, or printing out handouts in different languages to pass out to members of your community.
3. Are our smoke alarms functioning properly?
Why it’s important: Roughly 62 percent of home fire deaths occurred in homes with no working smoke alarms (or no smoke alarms at all).
What you should know: Working smoke alarms cut your risk of dying in a home fire almost in half. Replace your smoke detector batteries twice per year and test them monthly to keep them working properly.
Peace of mind tip: Read through the NFPA’s community tool kits on topics like “Keeping Your Community Safe with Home Fire Escape Planning” and “Keeping Your Community Safe and Warm.” They’ll help up your fire prevention knowledge immensely.
4. Do my kids understand the dangers of fire?
Why it’s important: The fire department responded to an estimated 44,900 fires that were started by someone playing with fire in 2010. In almost every case, that “someone” was a child.
What you need to know: Preschoolers and kindergarteners are the most common age group starting these fires, and the most likely to die from them.
Peace of mind tip: Read through Sparky’s Wish List, an online registry of fire safety education materials that America’s fire departments desperately need. You can purchase the requested materials and have them shipped directly to the fire department in your own community to supplement fire education programs in schools.
At Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine, we know how frightening the possibility of a house fire is, and we want to help ease your fears and keep you safe. We thank the National Fire Protection Association for the wonderful fire safety and prevention resources they provide.
Paul Davis Restoration of Central Maine serves the following communities: Bangor Brewer, Old Town, Ellsworth, MDI, Houlton, Waterville, Augusta, and surrounding towns in Central & Down East Maine.