MCFRS News Release

Fire Safety Experts Say Most Home Fires Preventable

Vision 20/20 Meeting About Fire-Loss Prevention Strategies; Representatives from most Washington, D.C. area fire departments, including the Montgomery County (Maryland) Fire and Rescue Service will take part in national forum

Washington, DC – March 31, 2008   Fires strike across the country, killing on the average nine people each day (one every 162 minutes) and injuring thousands.  Each one is a tragedy, and just within the past two weeks we have seen several particularly horrific ones.  Five children died in a house fire in Arkansas, six people were killed in two fires within days of each other in New Hampshire and four more died in Alaska.  Fires in Arizona, California, Iowa, New York, Colorado, Michigan, Washington and Delaware have claimed lives, all within just the past few days.  On average, more than 3,200 people are killed in fires and 16,400 are injured each year and, ironically, over 82% of these deaths occur in the very place that people feel the safest from fire – their homes.  These are tragedies for the families, the local communities, and the nation.

 In that same time period dozens of Montgomery County, Maryland families have been displaced as a result of residential fires, several residents have been injured and at the same time fire, smoke and water damage as resulted in millions of dollars in property loss.

So often these fires and their fateful outcomes are avoidable through the use of proven fire prevention strategies and education.  By making the public more aware of the role that they have in helping to build a fire-safe community we can make tremendous strides, one home at a time, towards reducing the loss of life and property that occurs every single year.

We have joined together to redouble our efforts to reach out to people across the nation to raise the national awareness of fire prevention.  We know, without a doubt, that by educating our citizens about fire-safe practices and what to do if a fire should break out we can reduce the losses in our communities and work towards a fire-safe future for today’s generation and beyond.  Each of the organizations listed is committed to a simple mission – saving lives.  Some of the actions are ones that can be done today, others are for the future.  However, by starting right now, we can someday point back and say that it started today.

We have reduced fire deaths nationally during the last 20 years but the problem and sadness continues to exist. We believe that we can further reduce our national life loss in this area by focusing on these key areas:


The Overall Fire Picture – 2006


Source: National Fire Protection Association Fire Loss in the U.S. During 2006 and USFA's Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2006
The following organizations have joined together to urge everyone to practice fire safety every day.

American Fire Sprinkler Association

Common Voices

Congressional Fire Services Institute

Fire Team USA 
Home Safety Council

Institution of Fire Engineers

International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters

International Association of Fire Chiefs

International Code Council

International Fire Marshals Association

Metro Fire Chiefs

National Association of State Fire Marshals

National Electrical Manufacturers Association

National Fire Protection Association

National Fire Sprinkler Association

 National Volunteer Fire Council

Society of Fire Protection Engineers
Underwriters Laboratories

United States Fire Administration