Earlier this month, the death of an 88-year-old man brought Alabama's fire death total to 83, surpassing last year's total of 81. Per a recent news story, the state ranks fourth in deadly fires this year, with the majority of the incidents occurring at home.
"We're not having fatalities in commercial buildings," Alabama State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk told AL.com. "It's a crying shame that [fire deaths] are above last year."
These fatalities are in line with national trends outlined in NFPA's "Fire Loss in the U.S. During 2013" report; older adults are dying in these fires, which are predominantly being initiated by unattended cooking and alternate heating sources.
Citing tips from local fire officials, the story underscores smoke alarms and sprinklers, tasking residents who are building their homes to seriously consider installing the latter. "Sprinklers can contain and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive," states the article.
Research proves that home fire sprinklers dramatically reduce the risk of dying from a fire. For example, in Maryland, which has residential sprinkler requirements in all of its counties, fire deaths saw a decline in 2014 over the year prior. Prince George's County has required sprinklers since 1992, and hasn't recorded a single fire death in its sprinklered homes.
Watch the following case study from Massachusetts underscoring the ease and affordability of home fire sprinkler installation: