Fire Is Everyone’s Fight-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fire Is Everyone’s Fight

Five months ago the United States Fire Administration kicked-off an action plan for fire protection and prevention. This initiative is called “Fire is Everyone’s Fight” and it is designed to get everyone thinking about the importance of fire prevention. Fires can be prevented and everyone has a role to play in ensuring that fires are prevented. We are all fighting an ongoing and continuous battle against fire. Current USFA statistics indicate that 81% of all fire fatalities and 76% of all fire injuries occur in the home. We rely on the fire service to fight fires once they have occurred; however, the prevention of fire is up to us.

You may ask yourself what you can  do to help prevent fires. There are numerous ways in which a person can take action(s) to either prevent a fire from occurring or reducing the spread of fire if one occurs. With cooking being the number one cause (45%) of home fires a major step to reducing this would be to STOP UNATTENDED COOKING!  Keep anything that can catch fire away from cooking surfaces, turn pot handles in, avoid wearing loose fitting clothing, and maintain a three foot safety zone around cooking areas.

Smoke alarms can often make the difference between surviving a fire or not. Assure that a working smoke alarm in installed outside of sleeping areas and on every level of your home. Test your smoke alarms monthly, replace batteries when necessary or at least annually. At home prepare and practice a home fire drill. At work you may see a fire door(s) that is propped open; if you do please remove the obstruction so that the door can close. These doors are designed to reduce the spread of fire, smoke and lethal gases.

 I am reminded of a question that was posed to a firefighter instructor when I was a young recruit at the fire academy. What causes most fires?  35 years later I still remember his answer. He said he could answer that question in 3 words; “Men, Women and children.”

By: Richard Caruso,, 412-268-9404