Observance offers ideal time to take precautions, state commissioner urges
“This year’s theme is ‘Prevent Kitchen Fires’,” Mann said in a news release, adding that “kitchen fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires in 2011, resulting in 2,520 civilian deaths and nearly $7 billion in damages.
Working smoke detectors are one of the best ways to prevent fire injury and deaths in a home. Ideally, detectors should be placed in common areas of the home such as the kitchen and living room, as well as in each bedroom. Families should also create and practice an escape plan, so everyone in the home knows how to get out safely in the event of a fire or other emergency.
“As we head into the winter months and residents fire up their wood stoves and fireplaces, people should also check their carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working properly,” Mann said. “Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic the flu, so you could easily be overcome without realizing it, and unable to get help for yourself or your loved ones.”
Carbon monoxide is created when combustible materials burn incompletely. Often called “the silent killer,” it is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can incapacitate victims before they are aware that they have been exposed. Sources of carbon monoxide can include wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, gas-fired appliances and fireplaces, grills and motor vehicles.
Additional information about Fire Prevention Week, including free resources for families and teachers, is available online at www.fpw.org. Information about how to prevent fires and prepare for all types of emergencies is available online at www.ReadyPA.org. For more information about the fire service in Pennsylvania, visit www.osfc.state.pa.us, or call 1-800-670-3473.