Author: P. Christopher Guedri, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney
The longest-running public health and safety observance on record in America, Fire Prevention Safety Week, returns this week [October 4-10] with “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!” as its theme.  In honor of the event, here are some tips and information for improving safety and preparing for the risk of fire.
Use and Maintain a Smoke Alarm
- Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying from a fire by half.
- Although only 1 in 5 home fires occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., 50 percent of fire fatalities occur during this stretch. Smoke alarms help to wake up potential victims in time to escape from a fire.
- From 2007-2011, 60 percent of fire fatalities occurred in homes that either had no smoke alarm or had no working alarm.
- An easy-to-fix yet common cause of smoke alarm failure is an issue with the batteries, such as when they are dead, disconnected, or missing.
Have and Practice an Escape Plan
- Survey results taken by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reveal that most Americans either do not have a fire escape plan or have not practiced it.
- Despite what some may believe, the time to escape from a fire before it becomes life-threatening is often less than six minutes. The only way to know whether an escape plan can be executed in the time available is by practicing it.
Know the Possible Fire Risks
- Two out of every five home fires start in the kitchen, and cooking-related fires accounted for 400 deaths and 5,080 injuries, along with $853 million in damage, from 2007 to 2011.
- Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries in the United States. Space heaters accounted for 33 percent of heater-caused fires and more than 80 percent of home heating deaths.
- One of the leading causes of cooking and heating-related fires was a failure to clean the equipment. Old build-up on equipment can cause ignition and spread of fire.
- Electrical fires average 450 deaths and $1.5 billion in property damage per year. The leading causes of electrical fires are electrical distribution or lighting equipment.
Preparation can go a long way in keeping the people inside the home safe in the event of a fire.
About The Author: Chris Guedri was named "Lawyer of the Year 2015" by Best Lawyers in America for Personal Injury-Plantiff's in Richmond, VA. He is an attorney with more than 30 years of experience and he practices with the law firm of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen.