Promoting community fire safety

The United States Fire Administration provides fire statistics on its Web site that can be used to teach citizens about fire safety. FireRescue1 has provided these six statistics to help promote community fire safety:

1. The United States ranks fourth in fire deaths among the 25 developed countries for which statistics are available.

2. Four out of five U.S. fire deaths occur in the home. People need to install and maintain plenty of smoke alarms and develop a fire escape plan for their home, making sure to not just plan it but also practice it at least twice a year.

3. Most victims of fire die from smoke inhalation and not from burns. Carbon monoxide, which is present in all smoke, works by making people sleepy and disoriented before it finally kills. Many fire victims die in rooms that are remote from the fire or by having malfunctioning gas appliances due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Homes must have carbon monoxide alarms.

4. Fires started by lighted tobacco products (mainly cigarettes) are the leading cause of home fire deaths.

5. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires. Keep an easily-accessible fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergencies. Keep the lid to the pan close to enable quick cover should a fire occur. Never put water on a grease or oil fire as it just causes them to spread.

6. Children under the age of five constitute a group at a high risk for fire-related injuries and death. Young children are not able to climb out of a crib or open a window on their own to escape a fire. This emphasizes the need for a well-practiced escape plan.