CFO SINK URGES FLORIDIANS TO
FOCUS ON SAFETY DURING FIRE PREVENTION WEEK, OCTOBER
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who serves
as Florida’s State Fire Marshal, is urging
Floridians to take steps to protect themselves and
their families from fire and to learn more about
fire safety during Fire Prevention Week, which
begins Sunday, October 7, and continues through
The Division of State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire
Prevention, will host a variety of activities
throughout the week to draw attention to Fire
Prevention Week, which the Governor and Cabinet
designated Tuesday following a resolution presented by
CFO Sink. A schedule of activities and the
resolution are available at
part of the week’s activities, the annual Fallen
Firefighter Memorial Service will be held on Friday,
October 12, at the Florida State Fire College in
Ocala to commemorate 137 firefighters who have died
over the years
in the line of duty in Florida.
In presenting the Fire Prevention Week resolution,
CFO Sink commended the fire and rescue services for
having no line-of-duty firefighter deaths reported
last year. But she lamented the deaths of 183
Floridians and injuries to more than 1,600,
including 832 firefighters, in fire-related
incidents – the majority occurring in homes. CFO
Sink said she is concerned that of the more than
24,700 Florida structures involved in fires last
year, fewer than 40 percent had smoke detectors, and
just over half of those were working.
“Few Floridians would think about going without
insurance, yet too many do not make sure they have
the protection of a smoke alarm,”
CFO Sink .
“The cost of a smoke alarm is minimal, but the loss
of a life is immeasurable.”
She said beyond having working smoke alarms,
practicing a fire escape plan is important to make
sure your family knows what to do in the event of a
The leading cause of home fires in Florida last year
was cooking, followed by arson, appliances and
heaters, open flames from items such as candles, and
smoking. While most fires occur in the kitchen, more
lethal fires occurred in the bedroom. Fires in
Florida last year caused more than $380 million in
damage to Florida homes and property.
CFO Sink suggests Floridians follow these fire
• Install smoke detectors on every floor and in
hallways leading to bedrooms.
• Change smoke alarm batteries semi-annually, easily
remembered if done when changing the clocks for
daylight savings time in the spring and fall months.
Test alarms regularly.
• Plan escape routes from every room and floor to an
outdoor meeting place. Be sure everyone in the
family knows and practices them. If necessary,
install and learn to use slides or a rope ladder.
• Be sure children know their address.
• Make sure your house numbers can be easily seen
from the street.
• Make sure your babysitter knows the family's fire
safety rules, escape routes and meeting place.
• If you smoke, do not smoke in bed and never walk
away from a lighted cigarette.
• Do not smoke if you are taking medication that
makes you drowsy.
• Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from
furniture and curtains.
• Turn off space heaters before you leave the house
or go to bed.
• Store paints, fuels and all ignitable liquids in a
cool, locked metal cabinet. Greasy rags should be
stored in a self-closing metal container. DO NOT
store chemicals together that are not compatible
such as pool chemicals, oils, gasoline and cleaning
products. If you're not sure, call your local fire
• Do not use frayed electrical cords and do not
overload outlets or extension cords.
• Keep ovens, broiling pans and kitchen exhaust fans
• Never leave a stove unattended while it is on.
• If a fuse or circuit breaker should blow or keeps
tripping, find out why and correct the problem.
Always use the correct size fuse. Call an
• If a fire occurs, don't panic -- do your best to
• Follow your escape plan.
• Leave the building and don't go back in for any
• If smoke is present, drop to the floor and crawl
to the nearest exit.
• Never use water to put out an electrical fire.
This can cause a serious shock hazard.
• Feel the door before you exit through it. If the
door is hot, leave by another exit.
In addition to providing public education on fire
safety, the Bureau of Fire Prevention annually
inspects more than 16,000 public and private
buildings including public schools, university
facilities and adult living facilities and enforces
regulations regarding the handling of explosives
materials, boiler safety and fire system
installation contractors to ensure public safety.
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R E S O L U T I O N
WHEREAS, last year in Florida, 183 citizens died as
a result of fire-related incidents and more than
1,600 citizens, including 832 firefighters, were
injured in fire-related incidents, causing more than
$380 million in damage to Florida homes and
WHEREAS, while assisting in the investigation of
3,978 fire incidents last year, the State Fire
Marshal’s Office determined that nearly half of
those that involved fatalities were preventable and
statistics show that of those fires involving
structures, only 38 percent had smoke detectors and
only 57 percent of those were working; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services, Division of Forestry, is committed to
protecting and preserving Florida’s forests and
woodlands, forestry officials report that
approximately 13 percent of all Florida wildfires
last year were intentionally set, making arson and
escaped debris burning the two main causes of
wildfires in Florida; and
WHEREAS, in response to these fires, the Department
of Agriculture and Consumer Services implements
numerous education programs to reduce threats to
life and property, forests, and other related
at-risk wildland resources, while promoting natural
resource management through the use of prescribed
WHEREAS, the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Bureau
of Fire Prevention, annually inspects more than
16,000 public and private buildings including public
schools, university facilities and adult living
facilities and enforces regulations regarding the
handling of explosives materials, boiler safety and
fire system installation contractors to ensure
public safety; and
WHEREAS, exposure to smoke and poisonous gas is the
leading cause of fire-related deaths and can kill
long before flames erupt; and
WHEREAS, innovative enforcement operations include
participation for the third consecutive year in
“Operation Spotcheck,” an interagency effort with
the Department of Legal Affairs focused on fire
safety deficiencies in board and care occupancies
called home by many of Florida’s seniors; and
WHEREAS, Florida’s third-grade public school
educators have been provided with posters,
bookmarks, growth charts and an interactive web site
to teach students about fire safety and encourage
families to think about safety planning at home; and
WHEREAS, ongoing programs within the State Fire
Marshal’s Office aim to educate Florida college and
university students about fire safety during their
first years away from home; and
WHEREAS, the Division of State Fire Marshal, the
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes and the Florida Fire
& Emergency Services Foundation have teamed up to
provide and install thousands of smoke detectors in
at-risk Florida homes, and the Bureau of Fire
Prevention is actively involved with Fire Team USA
and its residential sprinkler initiatives; and
WHEREAS, working smoke detectors in homes,
businesses and schools not only give early warning
of fire but also allow time to escape, cutting the
risk of fire death by more than 50 percent; and
WHEREAS, the Bureau of Fire Prevention is a partner
with the Department of Homeland Security’s National
Fire Academy in its Prevention Advocacy Resource and
Data Exchange (PARADE) program, sharing resources
and networking fire prevention concerns on a
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Governor and
Cabinet of the State of Florida do hereby proclaim
the week of October 7-13, 2007, as
FIRE PREVENTION WEEK
in the State of Florida and remind citizens to
reflect on the tragic loss of life resulting from
preventable fires and commemorate the great Chicago
Fire of 1871, which killed more than 250 people and
left 100,000 homeless, destroying more than 17,400
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governor and Cabinet
of the State of Florida will honor and remember in a
special memorial service on October 12, 2007, those
brave men and women who have lost their lives in the
performance of their duties protecting all citizens.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governor and Cabinet
of the State of Florida do hereby pay special
tribute to all fire safety professionals in Florida
and extend thanks and appreciation to them for their
fire safety efforts and urge all Floridians to
participate in this year’s National Fire Protection
Association campaign titled, “Practice Your Escape
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF the Governor and Cabinet of the
State of Florida have hereunto subscribed their
names and have caused the Official Seal of the State
of Florida to be hereunto affixed in the City of
Tallahassee on this 2nd day of October, 2007.