Statistics on residential fires, including fatalities, are not getting any better, and one insurance carrier has looked deeply into the reasons why. Liberty Mutual has recently published the results of their study, as summarized in this recent press release. The good news is that they have also provided a clear set of recommendations on how to improve your family’s fire safety.
Practicing a fire escape drill can mean the difference between life and tragedy, especially when it only takes a few minutes for a flame to engulf a house. Alarmingly, only 28 percent of families with children under the age of 12 have conducted a home fire drill, according to the 2011 Liberty Mutual Insurance Fire Safety Study. The study also found that more than a third of parents (38 percent) have never created or discussed a fire drill with their family.
More Sobering Statistics
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), seven people on average died every day in U.S. home fires in 2009. So why don’t parents prepare for such a disaster? The Liberty Mutual study of 500 parents spotlights several reasons, the most common being that 61 percent of parents who haven’t developed a family escape plan say it simply hasn’t occurred to them to do so. More specific reasons were that parents feel their children are not old enough to understand (26 percent) a fire safety plan, while 20 percent say they don’t know how to create one.
Now the Good News
To help families address the need to better prepare for safe escape in the event of a home fire, Liberty Mutual Insurance is again presenting “National Family Fire Drill Day” on October 1, 2011, in advance of the upcoming Fire Prevention Week (October 9-15). “Discussing the reality of home fires can sometimes be difficult for parents, but it’s critical that every member of a family knows what do in the event of a fire and, according to the NFPA, children can start understanding fire safety messages as young as 18-24 months of age,” said Tom Harned, a property risk field manager with Liberty Mutual Insurance and volunteer firefighter. “Any day is a good day to create a fire escape plan, but National Family Fire Drill Day is a perfect moment in time to make fire safety in the home a priority.”
Details – and Recommendations
The one-stop, online fire safety destination BeFireSmart.com has detailed tools to help parents create a fire plan specific to their home. The site also includes a host of valuable tips to help eliminate fire hazards in the home, as well as a children’s section with fast, fun interactive games and a downloadable coloring book and story that teaches children the important lesson of never hiding from a firefighter during a fire. BeFireSmart.com offers these tips for crafting a fire escape plan:
- Assemble your family and draw out your floor plan to create a fire escape plan, pointing out all possible exits and marking the location of each smoke alarm.
- Once you have laid out your plan and the whole family understands where to exit, check that all escape routes are clear and that doors and windows are easily opened.
- Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped, and then call the fire department.
- Assign a family member to assist young children, and elderly or disabled family members should an emergency strike.
- Never go back into a burning building; instead, rely on firefighters who have specialized training and equipment.
- Practice the escape plan as a family during the day and night to make the drill as realistic as possible.
- Make sure that smoke alarms are installed on each level of the home and in every sleeping room.
- Store escape ladders upstairs for those homes with multiple levels.
- Practice closing doors on your way out when holding a family fire drill, as this slows the spread of fire.
As many fire safety professionals have indicated, an alarm system that includes fire monitoring is a better solution than just making you have working smoke detectors in your home. We talk to our customers (potential and existing) about fire monitoring all the time. In fact, we recommend at least one monitored smoke/heat sensor in every home. Adding fire monitoring to your FrontPoint system will not increase your monthly fee a penny (which does happen at a lot of alarm companies), and you should even get an additional discount on your homeowners insurance for monitored fire detection. That’s just one more reason why FrontPoint is the leader in wireless home security – and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. Our systems are not just smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually possible to defeat: they’re safer, too.