(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of articles on fire prevention efforts. The articles will continue throughout October as the Great Bend Fire Department presents Fire Prevention Month.)
“Protect Your Family From Fire” is the theme for Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15, however locally there is significantly more than just a week, as the Great Bend Fire Department continues its tradition of educating local children about fire dangers.
Capt. Luke McCormick explained the department will continue to make presentations to grade schoolers and to preschools, as well.
The department will have its annual familiarization presentation and a visit with Sparky the Fire Dog for preschoolers and kindergarten classes; and it will also take its training trailer to schools for older students.
According to the National Fire Protection Association — the group that supports Fire Prevention Week nationally — the risk from fire continues to be serious around the nation.
Some of the national statistics include:
• One home structure fire was reported every 87 seconds in 2009.
• On average, seven people died in home fires every day. Adults, 65 and over, face the highest risk of fire death.
• In 2009, U.S. fire departments responded to 362,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 12,650 civilian injuries, 2,565 civilian deaths, $7.6 billion in direct damage.
One of the reactions to fire danger continues to be to educate students about the need for escape plans.
According to the national statistics, there is still a real need for those:
• According to an NFPA survey, less than one-fourth of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
• Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, less than half actually practiced it.
• One-third of Americans households who made and estimate they thought they would have at least six minutes before a fire in there home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8 percent said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out.