Surviving a Home Fire: Six Things You and Your Residents Can Do
October is Fire Safety Month, and October 5-11, 2014, marks Fire Prevention Week. What will you be doing this month to protect your home against fires?
The most recent fire statistics by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) paints a bleak picture.
From 2007-11, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 366,000 annual home structure fires that caused an average cost of $7.2 billion in direct damages. In 2012, fires caused 83 percent of civilian fire deaths in one- and two-family homes, apartments, townhouses, row house and manufactured homes. One home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds.
Reported fires are actually on the decline, thanks to efforts that spark greater fire safety awareness and other factors. Since 1977, the number of fires annually has dropped by more than half. But one home fire is too many. Some home fires, like those in Northern California that forced evacuations in a small town in August, may not be avoidable. Having a plan to help prevent injury and personal loss, however, is within control.
Being prepared is critical to helping ensure the safety of occupants in the homes we lease today. Consider inviting a local fire official to help educate residents or hosting a party to discuss fire safety and escape planning tips like the American Red Cross and other sources suggests below:
Property owners and third-party managers have a lot to gain by educating residents about fire safety preparedness. The potential direct damage cost alone is incentive enough – even for residents – but not dealing with loss of life or permanent injury claims is even greater. Most U.S. families have not developed and practiced a home fire escape plan, says the American Red Cross. Many others do not have smoke detectors installed or maintain them with fresh batteries.
There are many other tips from numerous sources available to help educate residents about fire safety and escape preparedness. Introducing the subject alone is a big start. Encourage families to have those important conversations about what to do in the event of a fire and create a plan. It just might save lives.
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