By Sam Poe
Friday, October 3, 2014 | 12:10 AM
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has declared the month of October as “Fire Prevention Month” in order to encourage citizens to “Turn Their Attention to Fire Prevention.”
Governor Bentley, the State Fire Marshal and the Alabama Association of Fire Chiefs have invited all fire service and injury prevention organizations to join with them in a renewed commitment to ensure the safety and security of those living, working and visiting in our state. In the Proclamation, the Governor said, “the 2014 Fire Prevention theme, ‘Turn Your Attention to Fire Prevention,’ effectively serves to remind us all of the simple actions we can take to keep our homes and families safe from fire.”
The year has been a particularly deadly year for fire fatalities in Alabama. Twenty-eight (28) citizens, ranging in age from three to seventy-nine (79), lost their lives to fire in January alone. As we approach State and National Fire Prevention Month, Alabama’s statewide fire fatality total now stands at sixty-nine (69).
“One preventable fire fatality is too many,” said Alabama State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk, “so getting through a month like January was extremely trying for all of Alabama’s firefighters and first responders, not to mention the families and friends who lost loved ones.” Paulk continued, “Preventing fires is the best way to prevent fire deaths, so early this year the Alabama Association of Fire Chiefs and the Office of the State Fire Marshal began a cooperative effort to address the alarming increase in fire fatalities.”
Alabamians are encouraged to respond to public education measures and take personal steps, like planning and practicing home fire escape plans, in order to be more likely to survive a fire. The State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds citizens that a working smoke alarm cuts the risk of a home fire fatality in half and an automatic fire sprinkler system in the home cuts the risk by approximately 80 percent.
Paulk said, “There are so many little but important things we can do and think about that will prevent fires and save lives that we are urging Alabamians to just ‘Turn Your Attention to Fire Prevention.’”