Did you know?
- 82% of all fire
deaths occur in the
- Careless smoking is
2nd leading cause
of fire deaths.
- A working smoke
alarm reduces one's
chance of dying in a
fire nearly 50%.
Fire Is A Major Disaster
in Central Maryland
In 2004 (latest statics), fire killed more citizens of the United States than all other natural disasters combined. You might not know this because house fires are often called "silent disasters" since they rarely generate the same publicity as floods, hurricanes and earthquakes. However, in 2004, home fires resulted in about $9.8 billion in property damage.
In 2005, the Red Cross responded to more than 73,000 disasters--92% of which were fire-related. To the victims who've lost everything, a home fire is just as catastrophic as a major hurricane.
- Nearly 4000 Americans die each year in house fires and over 2000 are severely injured.
- In only 3 1/2 minutes, the heat from a house fire can reach over 1100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- About 80% of all civilian deaths from fire occur in the home.
- In rooms that are not even on fire the temperature can reach over 300 degrees; this is hot enough to melt plastic and kill the people in those rooms.
The Factors Contributing to Fatalities
- Fire produces gases and fumes that can make you sleepy, weak, and confused. You can't smell these fumes, so if you are asleep the smell won't wake you — but a smoke alarm will.
- Unlike fires in the movies, the smoke from a house fire can be so thick that your house would be completely dark in 4 minutes, even with all the lights on!
The Causes of House Fires
- Faulty appliances/wiring cause the greatest number of house fires.
- Heating devices such as heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces, are another leading cause. Most often the fires start when something like furniture, boxes, or clothing placed too near the heat source overheats and ignites.
- Cigarettes are another leading cause of house fires. Most often the fires start when a cigarette was dropped on to furniture like beds, sofas, or chairs before bed.
- Children playing with fire cause many injuries and house fires every year.
- Two out of three people who die in house fires were asleep when the fire began.
- Smoke alarms increase the chances of surviving a house fire by 2 to 3 times.
- Always install a smoke alarm just outside the sleeping areas.
- Change the smoke alarm's battery once a year or when the alarm chirps. Never remove the battery from the smoke alarm without replacing it.
8 Things You MUST Teach Your Children
- What a smoke alarm sounds like: Some children run and hide when an alarm sounds a house-fire warning. Making and practicing a house fire escape plan helps them respond appropriately to the alarm.
- What firefighters looks like at a fire: Aquaint your children with the equipment a firefighter may be wearing/carrying. Air masks, the heavy breathing sounds they produce and axes can be frightening to children who may hide instead of respond to their calls.
- Escape routes: Always teach children two ways out of every room (i.e., window and door).
- Stay low during escape: Crawl as close to the floor as possible under smoke to a safe exit.
- Test the safety of their exit route: Use the back of the hand to test if a closed door is hot. If it is hot, use another way out.
- Where to meet after escape: Everyone must meet at a previously designated meeting place outside the home so that firefighters know that all persons are out of the house.
- How to call for help: Call 911 from a neighbor's home.
- Stay out: Never go back inside a burning home to get anything such as toys, clothes or pets.