152807 Major venues and strategies for reducing fire deaths

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Marty Ahrens, MSW , Fire Analysis and Research Division, National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA
In 2005, home structure fires killed an estimated 3,030 people in the United States. Fires can be prevented by reducing the danger from the heat source, reducing the fire performance or availability of fuel, or changing the behaviors that allow the fuel and heat source to come together. Should a fire start, death and injury can be prevented by a) separating people from the fire, and/or b) containing or extinguishing the fire. Smoking materials have long been the leading cause of home fire deaths. Legislation requiring “fire-safe cigarettes” is expected to lead to a sharp drop in these deaths. Even with cigarette resistance standards, upholstered furniture and mattresses and bedding remain the leading items first ignited in home fire deaths. While newer products may be made to new and tighter standards, the poor are less likely to own these safer products. The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1996 requires federal agencies to give preference to consensus standards about how product tests should be done, qualifications established, structure built, and equipment installed and maintained, instead of developing their own. Many aspects of the built environment are regulated. This paper looks at such product controls as means of reducing the fire death toll. Some products must meet mandatory standards before they can be sold. When no standards exist, products may be sold unless proven unsafe. Individual behavior in the home is largely unregulated. Educational efforts remind people how to use products safely and how to protect themselves from fire.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the magnitude of the home fire problem in the U.S. and the leading cause of home fires resulting in death. 2. List five areas of intervention in preventing fire and fire death and provide examples of each. 3. Describe the interaction between non-governmental voluntary consensus organizations and federal agencies.

Keywords: Burns, Injury Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.