WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, today announced passage of a Senate resolution that she authored recognizing the theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week – “Stay Fire Smart, Don’t Get Burned.” Senator Collins’ legislation was cosponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman, Chris Dodd, Tom Carper and John McCain.
“Firefighters are on the first line of our emergency responders,” said Senator Collins. “Every day, they put themselves in harm’s way, confronting all manner of emergencies, from acts of terrorism to natural disasters, from house fires to medical emergencies. Educating all Americans about ways to prevent fires in the first place will help further the safety of our firefighting men and women. All of us can help our local fire departments by making prevention a top priority.”
Said Senator Lieberman: “I am pleased to join my colleagues in honoring our nation’s firefighters and observing Fire Prevention Week. Firefighters race into the face of danger every day to protect us and our communities. In honor of their courageous service everyone should familiarize themselves with the dangers fires and other emergencies present and how to prevent them. We must do all we can to support our first responders and help them to keep us safe.”
The National Fire Prevention Association strongly supported Senator Collins’ resolution as part of its Fire Prevention Week. It focuses on ways to keep homes fire-safe and prevent painful burns.
Senator Collins said that America’s firefighters provide a wide array of services, including emergency medical services, special rescue response, hazardous material and terrorism response, and public safety education.
The statistics from 2008 tell the story. Last year, 103 firefighters lost their lives in the line of duty and some 1,145,000 fires were reported nationwide. Further, the nation’s fire departments responded to emergency calls nearly every second and dispatched personnel to fire emergencies every 22 seconds.
Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. Firefighters were first honored for their role in educating the American public in 1922, when President Warren G. Harding declared the first Fire Prevention Week. The first American fire departments were organized in the colonial era.