While the United States is one of the most industrialized nations in the world, it still has one of the highest fire death rates, with more than 4,500 people dying each year and another 29,000 injured as a result of fires. These deaths and injuries number more than all natural disasters in our country combined, including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. More than two million fires are reported each year in the United States with an estimated $8.5 billion direct property loss.
Senior citizens and children under five years old are at the highest risk for dying in a fire. Nearly 80% of all fatal fires occur in the home. Of those, approximately 67% occur in single-family homes and duplexes. Based upon statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration, 29% of all fires occur in the kitchen, 13% in the bedroom, 8% in the living room / den / fireplace, and 4% in the laundry area. Careless smoking is the leading cause of all fires followed by arson, heating, and cooking.
These fire safety tips can help keep your family and home safe:
- Install and maintain a working smoke detector on each level of your home and outside of sleeping areas - these double a person's chance of surviving a fire
- Make sure matches, lighters, and other heat sources are for adults only
- Practice Exit Drills at Home (EDITH) - know at least two ways out of every room in your house / apartment, have a meeting place outside, and don't go back in once you have made it out
- Stop, Drop, and Roll if your clothes catch on fire - stop because running makes the fire burn faster, drop to the ground and cover your face with your hands, and roll back and forth to put out the flames