In this state, civilian fire fatalities up an astounding 40 percent over last year

Blog Post created by freddurso Employee on Jun 18, 2018

How bad has the fire problem been in Virginia this year? Consider this: since the start of 2018, about one resident has died every four days from fire. State data points to a 40 percent increase in civilian fire fatalities when comparing 2018 first-quarter fire data with last year's. 


"We need to be mindful of the fire risks in our homes," Chief Michael Reilly, executive director of the Virginia Department of Fire Programs told The Roanoke Star.  Virginia's leading cause of fire fatalities this year is careless smoking and improperly discarded smoking materials. The median age of the victims is 70 years old, a reality that coincides with NFPA data proving that 30 percent of fatal home fire victims were at least 65 years of age.


While Virginia State Fire Marshal Brian McGraw stressed the necessity of smoke alarms and fire escape planning, he also made a pitch for home fire sprinklers, specifically to protect his state's aging population. "Our data indicates that older adults are more likely to die in a fire because they lack the ability to exit quickly," he told the publication. "However, residential sprinklers contain or extinguish fires while they are still small and reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by nearly 80 percent."


In May, Virginia joined more than 20 states promoting this technology during North America's first Home Fire Sprinkler Day. "By joining forces coast to coast [during this event], communities debunked persistent myths, helped consumers learn the facts before they build or buy a new home, and urged their local officials to support sprinkler codes," says Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy and president of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition. 


Before you can promote the solution to home fires, you must underscore the problem to your public and decision makers. Follow Virginia's lead; use local data to underscore your regional fire problem. (Visit UFSA's database of 2018 home fire fatalities in the news.)Then use our free advocacy resources to show your community how to combat it.