RACINE — Members of the Racine Fire Department visited Southern Local elementary and high school last Friday during National Fire Prevention Week.
This year’s campaign slogan, “Hear The Beep Where You Sleep,” gave firefighters the opportunity to discuss fire safety awareness with the students and stress the importance of smoke alarms in an early warning of fire.
According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System and the National Fire Protection Association’s fire department survey, in the years from 2009-13, fires in homes with no smoke alarms caused an average of 940 deaths per year, or 38 percent of home fire deaths. An additional 510 people per year, or 21 percent of home fire deaths, were a result of fires in which smoke alarms were present in the home but failed to operate.
While most households indicate having smoke alarms, they were present in slightly less than 73 percent of reported home fires. The death rate per 100 reported fires was more than twice as high in homes with no alarm or an alarm that was not working as it was in fires with working smoke alarms.
Power source problems were the leading cause of smoke alarm failures and hard-wired smoke alarms were more likely to operate than those that were powered solely by batteries.
Seventy two students at Southern reported not having a smoke detector in their home or bedroom. They were given a detector donated by the Racine Fire Department Auxiliary to take home.
Racine Fire Department officials said they welcomed the opportunity to work with the students and brought Engines 23 and 27 to the school. Firefighters Dax Holman, Charley Pyles, Logan Dunn, Ian Wise, Ryan McCabe, Matt Smith and John Bentz were on hand to give students in grades pre-K through 4 a “walk around” of the engines. The students also had time to ask questions about the engines and what is is like to be a firefighter.
Contact Lorna Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org.