GALLAGHER KICKS OFF
FIRE PREVENTION WEEK 2004 WITH NEW EDUCATION PROGRAMS, EMPHASIS ON SMOKE ALARMS
Hurricane Jeanne recently claimed its seventh
Florida victim, but not with wind or rain.
In Port St. Lucie, a Waste Management worker was electrocuted when a downed
power line set fire to his truck. It was one more reminder of the grim hazards
fire poses as Florida observes Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 3-9.
“Every year, fires claim the lives of many Floridians, and injure hundreds of
others,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Tom
Gallagher. “But there are steps we can take to protect ourselves and reduce our
risks of being injured by fire. One of the simplest but most important steps is
to install a smoke alarm in your home or business—and make sure it works.”
Statistics bear this out. Working smoke alarms were present in fewer than 5
percent of the 58,000 fire incidents reported to the State Fire Marshal’s Office
in 2003, and 109 Floridians died in those fires.
“It’s a simple job, but it can mean the difference between life and death,”
Gallagher told about 40 senior citizens at a Fire Prevention Week kick-off
program at Georgia Belle Apartments, a Tallahassee independent living facility
where 10 years ago more than 100 people were injured in an early morning fire.
Gallagher told them that fire claims the lives of Florida’s elderly more than
any other age group.
To combat that sobering trend, the Department of Financial Services and State
Fire Marshal’s Office have teamed up with the Department of Elder Affairs to
launch a new education program targeting the state’s seniors. The new
educational package will be distributed to fire departments throughout the
state, and includes training materials and a DVD with tips and tools to help
local firefighters and fire safety educators provide the elderly with
information that can save lives.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office also continues to place special emphasis on
education for children. The department’s “Safe House Mouse” program offers tips
for kids and suggestions for parents and teachers to share practical advice on
how to prevent and escape fire. That program can be found at
http://www.MyFloridaCFO.com/SFM/SafeHouse/index.html. And, the State Fire
Marshal’s Office has created fire-safety bookmarks specifically targeting
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is also promoting fire safety at the state’s
colleges and universities. This week, fire prevention specialists will be
visiting university campuses to draw attention to the special risks students
living away from home for the first time can face. The specialists will be
armed with a new campus fire safety video the State Fire Marshal’s Office
produced. Another new program geared toward college students is “Candle with
“Floridians have endured a great deal this year,” Gallagher said, referring to
the hard-hitting hurricane season. “As we come together to recover after these
extraordinary events, it’s also important that we remember the everyday
precautions that can protect us from further tragedy.”
The skyline for October is Daytona Beach,
photo courtesy of the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.