The Times West Virginian

Opinion

October 30, 2013

Simple steps can lower state’s fire fatality rate

West Virginia has 3.5 times the national fire fatality rate, second to only Washington, D.C., with a rate of 3.7 times the national average.

It’s a disturbing statistic, considering that something very simple can prevent the high fatality rate. While there has not been a definitive study to analyze possible reasons for West Virginia’s high fire-fatality rate, two-thirds of all fire-related deaths happen in homes without functioning smoke detectors.

Lanny Adkins, West Virginia University Fire Service Extension Program coordinator, said this makes ensuring your fire detectors are working and have functioning batteries very important.

In fact, those detectors could be a lifesaver. Even when they’re a nuisance in the kitchen, detectors must be kept in working order with functioning batteries installed.

“Smoke detectors are only beneficial if they’re working,” Adkins said. “One of the biggest mistakes we see is that people tend to remove the batteries from alarms that repeatedly go off, like those in the kitchen.”

Considering the fact that most fires actually start in the kitchen, that’s the place in your home where detectors are the most important. There are certain types that can be “hushed,” or allow for alarm silence for up to seven minutes so a pan on the stove that gets a little smoky won’t set it off.

The most important thing to remember is to keep good batteries in the alarms. A simple way to remember to keep batteries fresh is to replace them when daylight saving time begins and ends.

On Sunday morning, we turn the clocks back. It would be an ideal time to stock up on 9-volt batteries and go about your home replacing batteries and testing detectors. Smoke detectors should be installed up high, such as on the ceiling, as smoke rises. It is recommended that smoke detectors be placed on every floor of a home, with one inside each bedroom and one outside or around each bedroom area.

In addition to having detectors, lives can be saved by simple preparation, too.

“Preparation is essential in the event that a fire does actually break out in your home,” Adkins said.

One good step is to have a rehearsed escape plan in the event of a home fire. Part of the escape plan should include a designated meeting area and a planned escape route from each area of the house.

But any step we take toward making sure we are safer in our homes from the threat of fire is a step we need to take.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Laws to keep mudslinging to minimum can stife free speech

    By nature, and by profession, we do not like lies. As journalists, we’re truth tellers. Or at least we attempt to get at the truth through research, attribution, documents and comments from people on either side of an issue.
    Sometimes it ends up with “telling lies from both sides,” as a crusty reporter once mused a handful of years ago.

    April 24, 2014

  • COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay

    Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.

    April 20, 2014

  • The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings

    During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.

    April 20, 2014

  • Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated

    Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
    During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

    April 18, 2014

  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

    A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

    April 17, 2014

  • State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
    For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better

    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    Instant.
    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
    Marion County is full of volunteers.
    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads