Fire Marshal’s Office Participates in FEMA Kids’ Fire Safety Campaign
HELENA – Acting State Fire Marshal Allen Lorenz said this week the Montana Department of Justice is taking part in the “Prepare. Practice. Prevent the Unthinkable” campaign of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Lorenz said the campaign aims to raise awareness about the increased risk of young children dying in a fire, and to teach parents and caregivers how to avoid that tragedy.
The campaign emphasizes installing smoke alarms, securing lighters and matches, and developing and practicing a fire evacuation plan.
Sheryl Burright-Sebens, Education and Information Programs Manager for the Division of Criminal Investigation, said “Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that Montana’s children are twice as likely to die in a residential fire than the rest of the state’s population. So far this year, Montana has had eight fire-related deaths, and two of the victims were children.”
Burright-Sebens said CDC statistics show that from 1989 to 1998 there were 108 residential fire deaths in Montana and 16 of those were children under the age of 5. She added that fire deaths are the fourth leading cause of death in Montana for children under the age of 5.
“Preventing the death of a child from fire is a top priority for Montana fire services,” Lorenz said. “We would much rather prevent a tragedy than respond to one. It’s vital that parents with young children learn and practice the simple steps for prevention. Prevention and practice really do save lives.”
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