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Fire and Burn Safety Policy Brief
By the Numbers
- Homes equipped with both smoke alarms and sprinkler systems can reduce fire-related deaths by 82 percent.
- Fires and burns are the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children 19 and under.
- Every day at least one child dies in a home fire.
- In 2010, nearly 128,500 children 19 and under sustained non-fatal fire- or burn-related injuries.
- Home fires account for nearly 90 percent of all fire-related fatalities.
Fire Sprinkler Systems
Fire sprinkler systems are one of the best ways to fight fire. Safe Kids supports cost-effective state and federal legislation that would include sprinkler systems in new construction and major reconstruction of housing. We support federal legislation that would provide a tax advantage for inclusion of fire suppression systems in buildings, S.1035 and H.R. 1792.
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
CO is often called the “silent killer” because of its odorless, invisible and lethal characteristics. The groups most vulnerable to CO poisoning are children, pregnant women and the elderly. Safe Kids backs federal legislation, H.R. 4326, that would create a single, mandatory standard for CO alarms and help states and local governments educate families on their importance.
Advocacy at Work
CO Laws in States and Cities
Many states and cities have existing laws on CO alarms. Safe Kids supports and fights for laws requiring them in schools and Head Start Centers, as well as in new construction housing and other buildings. Working with our coalitions and safety-conscious community groups, Safe Kids has been successful in such efforts this year in Maryland and Connecticut, and is working on legislation in other states.
Long-Life Smoke Alarms
While we have made practical and legislative progress in requiring smoke alarms in homes, experts state that smoke alarms containing long-life sealed batteries create a safer, 10-year worry-free home environment. Safe Kids supports state and local legislation to require long-life smoke alarms, passed thus far in Oregon, Louisiana, North Carolina and Philadelphia.
Products unique to children that can burst into fire in an instant have not gone away. Safe Kids supports the much-heightened efforts of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in stopping dangerous products at U.S. ports. Safe Kids supports the Children’s Sleepwear Labeling Act of 2011, S.2012, and ways to prevent tragedies caused by the unsafe transportation of gasoline.
Congressional Fire Services Caucus
Safe Kids salutes and works with firefighters and first-responders throughout the nation. It is also a strong supporter of the bipartisan Congressional Fire Services Caucus.