CONCORD, NH – As 2013 comes to a close and a new year has begun,” says, J. William Degnan, New Hampshire State Fire Marshal, “it is important to take the time to reflect on the efforts and benefits of fire and life safety public education.”
What we know:
Fire prevention education saves lives, pain and suffering, and dollars. Even when there are no injuries or deaths it can take years to recover from a fire. The loss of a home, possessions and family treasures can haunt people, particularly children, for the rest of their lives. However, there are many aspects of prevention where you won’t see the impact of loss prevention overnight, but within just a few years the benefits can be rewarding.
The public education section of the fire marshal’s office has worked hard to increase awareness and educate the public with the ultimate goal of changing the behaviors from a complacent attitude to being more diligent in their daily lives. Through statewide school newsletters, poster contests, and attendance at state and local events, the educators have reached hundreds of children with key safety messages. “I often hear from parents, ‘If it weren’t for my child reminding me to test our smoke alarms and prepare and
practice an escape plan, we wouldn’t do it!’”, states Marshal Degnan. He said, “People get busy with the everyday routines of life and put aside the important practices for living safely.”
2013 has been a record year in New Hampshire with low accidental fire deaths. “We normally experience a dozen or more fire fatalities in our state,” Degnan said, “but this year we only had four accidental fire deaths.” In New Hampshire each year fire departments respond to an average of 130,000 calls of which approximately 4,500 are fires resulting in an average of $30 million dollars of loss and the loss of precious lives. 2013 also resulted in a dramatic drop in accidental carbon monoxide poisonings with just
two accidental deaths.
We are beginning to see results of the efforts in education on that of the FMO as well as the New Hampshire local fire departments.