October is national fire safety month in Tallahassee. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Where’s the Beep” and the purpose of the campaign is to promote awareness that working smoke detectors save lives.
This year’s kickoff was held in the Apalachee Ridge Neighborhood in Tallahassee because the Tallahassee Fire Department says that they have responded to 40 fires in the neighborhood in the last year, including one that completely destroyed a residence.
Lieutenant Mike Bellamy of the Tallahassee Fire Department says that many people forget to check their smoke detectors to make sure the smoke detectors are even functioning. He says, “That smoke alarm is on top of the ceiling and you just never pay attention to it, and it just never crosses your mind to just go up there and hear that beep and make sure that it’s working.”
Home Fires And Fire Injuries In Tallahassee
According to the local Red Cross, 90 percent of house fires are preventable. So far this year, the local Red Cross says that it has spent more than $40,000 on residential fires in Leon County.
Across the United States, fire departments respond to approximately 370,000 home structure fires every year. In 2011, fires caused 13,910 injuries, approximately 2,500 deaths, and about $6.9 billion in direct damage.
Sadly, most fatal fires kill one or two people and, on average, seven people die every day from home fires.
Common Causes of Household Fires
– Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and residential fire injuries, with two out of every five home fires starting in the kitchen. Most fires start when food is left to cook unattended (34 percent of fires). Range fires account for about 57 percent of home cooking fires and ovens account for about 16 percent. Microwave ovens also are a common source of injuries and they are one of the leading home products associated with scald burn injuries.
– Heating Equipment is the second most common cause of household fires. Fixed or portable space heaters are involved in about four out of five deaths caused by heating equipment. Half of all home heating fire deaths are caused by heating equipment being placed too closely to things that can burn, such as furniture, clothing, mattresses, or bedding.
– Cigarettes/Smoking Materials are also a common cause of household fires. While the United States and Canada now require that all cigarettes be “fire safe” (meaning that they have reduced ignition strength and are less likely to start fires), cigarettes and other smoking materials still account for an estimated 18,000 home structure fires annually, resulting in 580 deaths and 1,280 injuries every year.
– Electrical Malfunctions cause many home fires. Fire sources typically include electrical distribution/wiring, lighting equipment, washers or dryers, fans, portable or stationary space heaters, air conditioning equipment, water heaters, and ranges.
– Candles are one additional fire source. Candles cause about 3 percent of home fires, 4 percent of home fire deaths, 7 percent of home fire injuries, and 6 percent of home fire property damage.
Functioning Smoke Alarms Are Critical To Save Lives
Almost 60 percent of home fire deaths result occur in homes where there were no smoke alarms present or where the alarms were not working. When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is often because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
However, even when smoke alarms are present and functional, they do not always go off. For fires considered large enough to activate a smoke alarm, battery-powered alarms only operate about 79 percent of the time, while hardwired alarms operate about 93 percent of the time, according to industry experts.
Kidde Recalls Smoke And Smoke/CO Alarms Due To Alarm Failure
Although hardwired smoke detectors generally have a higher functioning rate than battery operated models, manufacturers can sometimes make defective smoke alarms that create an unreasonable risk of harm to consumers. This happened recently with Kidde smoke detectors manufactured by United Technologies.
On September 11, 2014, United Technologies announced a recall of its Kidde residential smoke alarm model i12010S with manufacture dates between December 18, 2013 and May 13, 2014, as well as its combination smoke/CO alarm il2010SCO with manufacture dates between December 29, 2913 and May 13, 2014, and combination smoke/CO alarm model KN-COSM-IBA with manufacture dates between October 22, 2013 and May 13, 2014.
The recall involves approximately 1.2 million Kidde smoke alarms sold in the United States and another 112,000 units sold in Canada.
The alarms were recalled because a manufacturing defect could cause the alarms to fail to alert consumers of a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning danger.
Tallahassee Legal Help For Fire Related Injuries
Fire-related bodily injuries can occur in many ways, including situations where a home or apartment’s smoke alarm fails to go off and alert those inside to a smoke or fire danger. If a smoke alarm fails to function due to a design defect, manufacturing defect, or due to improper use or installation warnings, the product’s manufacturer, distributor, or seller may be liable for injuries and property damage caused by the defective product.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a dangerous or defective smoke alarm, smoke detector, or carbon monoxide detector in the Tallahassee or southern Georgia area, please call the experienced product liability attorneys at Fasig & Brooks for a free consultation to discuss your legal options and how we can protect your legal rights to financially recover for your losses. You can reach one of our attorneys by calling (850) 222-3232 or by contacting us online today.