Posted on February 14th, 2011 by Zane Cagle
Children that are 4-years old and younger account for roughly half of all childhood deaths and injuries resulting from fire according to a federal report released today. The Federal Management Agency (FEMA) found that children younger than 5 years of age made up 52% of the deaths of children younger than 16 years of age in 2007.
“Any fire death is unfortunate, but the greatest tragedy is when you see so many that affect children 4 years and younger,” FEMA Director Craig Fugate said. Deaths among the youngest children increased 2% from 2004-2007. Fire and burns were the third leading cause of accidental deaths, behind transportation accidents and drowning. Children under the age of 5 are the group least likely to be able to make their way to safety.
November saw an increase in residential fires and as cold temperatures linger across the United States, those numbers are likely to rise. Often the causes are electrical heaters, fireplace mishaps and the use of candles for heat and light during power outages according to USA Today.Each year, more than 3,500 American die in fires and approximately 18,300 are injured. While children account for 13% of all fire deaths and 11% of all injures, they are less likely to die in fires than the rest of the population as a whole. But, the youngest children face the highest risk of all children in dying or being injured according to statistics.
Children 9 years and younger accounted for 93% of deaths and 38% of injures where the cause of a residential fire was reported as “playing with a heat source”. The lack of working smoke detectors has been connected with almost 25% of fatal residential fires, thought just 3% of homes report that they do not have smoke alarms installed. Studies have shown that sleeping children often do not react quickly enough when a smoke alarm actually goes off and must be awaken by an adult.
The most alarming outcome of the study is that the trend of losing small children in residential fires is actually “trending upward”. If the adults in the house do not know what is going on, children will perish as small children have to be rescued. Small children are unable to comprehend what is going on in such a situation. According to Fugate, FEMA and more than two dozen other organizations will launch a national campaign today to promote fire safety through public awareness avenues of communication including Twitter.
Smoke detectors are a must in every house whether you have small children or not. A blaring smoke alarm may give the occupants a few extra moments to get everyone out of the house. Often people can sleep through and perish due to smoke inhalation before becoming engulfed in flames. Victims of fire tragedies are exceptionally horrifying to us all. Prepare with your family a fire evacuation route and discuss what each member must do in case of a fire in order to exit the home safely.
Zane T. Cagle has represented victims of residential and commercial fires and thorough investigations must always occur to determine the effectiveness of the smoke and fire alert systems in place. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a residential or commercial fire, call The Cagle Law Firm for a free consultation to determine if you have a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Please call 1(314) 276-1681.