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New NFPA report underscores fire deaths of the physically disabled and impact of sprinklers

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By Fred Durso, Jr.

Physical disabilities can delay or thwart a person’s chances of safely escaping a burning building. New data on just how many fatal fire incidences have impacted this population provides yet another reason why home fire sprinklers are necessary systems in new homes.

NFPA’s recently released report, “Physical Disability as a Factor in Home Fire Deaths,” estimates that physical disabilities were a contributing factor in about 15 percent of U.S. home fire deaths each year from 2007-2011. When physical disability was a factor, 60 percent of victims were at least 65 years old. Equally astounding is that 85 percent of victims were killed in one- and two-family homes.

Additionally, more than half of victims died in homes with working smoke alarms. “Additional steps must be taken to provide maximum safety for people with physical or sensory disabilities,” states the NFPA report. Many of the victims might have been saved had home fire sprinklers been present.”

Download the report, and view similar reports underscoring fire loss and injury on the recently revamped research section of NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative site.

Source:: NFPA – Fire Sprinkler Initiative

Michael S. Williams

Michael S. Williams

Williams founded the Fire Services Training Institute in 1995 to find solutions to the challenges confronting the volunteer fire service. He has been an active member of California State Firefighters Association (CSFA) since 1994, having served on the volunteer and public relations committees, and as a southern division deputy director. He sits on several local organizations including the Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council, the Tri-Counties Training Officers Association, Santa Barbara Chapter of CAER and is a founding member of the Santa Barbara PIO group Emergency Public Information Communicators (EPIC). He has been the author of many articles and a columnist for a local newspaper on public safety matters. He is also the co-host of Community Alert on KZSB AM-1290 in Santa Barbara. Williams has been a member of the California State Board of Fire Services since 2008. Prior to becoming involved in the volunteer fire service, Williams was a California police officer for 12 ½ years and a POST certified Field Training Officer. He is a licensed private investigator and security consultant specializing in self-insured, government and insurance defense assignments.


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