Ignorance Is Risky: Why We Still Need to Promote Fire Safety

Twice each year, Prevention 1st renews its educational campaign: “Change Your Clock; Test Your Alarms; Practice Your Home Fire Drill; Alarm Goes Off You Get Out, www.homefiredrill.org.”

It’s important to keep getting out these basic fire safety messages. Because, people still just don’t get it. And ignorance can be deadly.

Several surveys over recent years continue to find that 80%-90% of Americans feel safer from fires at home than in a public building, or feel equally safe in both locations.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t be more wrong. Nearly four times as many fires occur in residences as in non-residences, and they are far more deadly. 85% of all US fire deaths happen in homes.

Yet people seem far more concerned about dangers they are less likely to face. Less than half of those surveyed correctly identified fire as the event most likely to cause harm to them or their family. The risk of dying in a fire is actually:

  • 149 times more likely than dying in a flood;
  • 126 times more likely than dying in an earthquake;
  • 39 times more likely than dying in a hurricane or tornado.

Perhaps the false sense of being safe from fire at home explains why only 18% of survey respondents said they worry about the dangers of fire more than once a year. If we can get people to think about fire safety at least twice a year, it will be a huge leap forward!

Of course, we don’t just want them to worry. We want them to take action. We need to first raise their awareness of vulnerability, then let them know there are simple actions they can take to reduce their risk.

At www.homefiredrill.org, you can print off copies of our Home Fire Drill reminder sign: “Change Your Clock, Check Your Alarms, Practice Your Home Fire Drill, Alarm Goes Off You Get Out.” You can get and share step-by-step instructions for planning and practicing a home fire drill, and for choosing, installing and testing smoke alarms. You can view (and share the links to) the video Home Fire Drill: Does Your Family Know What to Do? and the interactive learning game Help Mikey Make It Out.

You don’t even have to wait for the Daylight Saving Time change.

© Prevention 1st, www.prevention1st.org. May be reprinted with copyright and contact information intact.