WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Susan Collins, joined by Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), introduced a bipartisan resolution to support the goals and ideals of Fire Prevention Week and the work of firefighters in educating and protecting the communities of this nation. All four senators serve as co-chairs on the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. The theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week is “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With.”
This year’s Fire Prevention Week will take place Oct. 3-9.
Senator Collins said the resolution brings the issue of fire prevention to the fore and that such public awareness will help save lives. “The statistics are alarming,” said Senator Collins. “Firefighters are on the first line of our emergency responders. 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. In 2009, 82 firefighters lost their lives in the line of duty. So far this year, more than 50 firefighters have died. 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.”
This year’s theme will focus on educating the public about how smoke alarms save lives and how to install and maintain effective home smoke alarm protection. Having working smoke alarm can reduce the risk of dying in a fire by fifty percent. Nearly 3,000 people die in home fires in the United States each year. In 2008, two of every five home fire deaths were in a home with no smoke alarms and another one in five was in a home where the smoke alarms were not working.
“The recent anniversaries of the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina and the memories of those we lost during those tragedies serve as an important reminder of the sacrifices made by so many brave firefighters,” said Senator Carper. “Firefighters have a special place of honor in our communities because their sole mission in life is to help those that cannot help themselves, whether during a major disaster or the kind of emergencies they respond to every day. We owe a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women of the fire service for placing themselves on the front lines to protect our communities. Fire Prevention Week recognizes these heroes and reminds us of what we can do to ourselves to keep our families and communities safe.”
“Firefighters are the classic symbol of American heroism,” said Senator McCain. “They are men and women who face the intense daily pressures of saving lives, often at the risk of their own, in any given situation at any given time. By increasing fire prevention awareness, we honor our nation’s firefighters and their proud legacy.”
“Day in and day out, our nation’s fire fighters work tirelessly to keep our country safe during emergencies,” said Senator Dodd. “Fire Prevention Week helps make our firefighters’ jobs a little easier by educating people on fire prevention and safety. The brave work of our nation’s fire fighters to save lives by preventing fires deserves our strongest support.”
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has sponsored Fire Prevention Week for the last 88 years, making it the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The Senate Fire Prevention Week Resolution aims to support the NFPA in its annual campaign to raise public awareness of the importance of fire safety and to encourage individuals to take action to help prevent fires.
For more information about Fire Prevention Week, including safety tips and statistical information, please visit www.firepreventionweek.org.