Louisville Fire Newsroom

Mayor and Firefighters Urge Families To Prevent Burns

Tuesday October 6, 2009

Initiative is part of National Fire Prevention Week

LOUISVILLE (October 6, 2009) -- Mayor Jerry Abramson and local fire chiefs today encouraged families to learn ways to prevent fires in their homes as part of National Fire Prevention Week, which runs from Oct. 5 to Oct. 12. This year’s theme is “Stay Fire Smart – Don’t Get Burned.”

Burn injuries result in hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits a year. Thermal burns outnumber scalds nearly two-to-one.

“We want all our citizens to be fire-smart and burn-smart,” said Abramson. “Children are especially vulnerable to burns – not just from fires but also from hot objects, hot water or chemicals. This year’s safety message is critically important for families.”

According to a new report issued by the National Fire Prevention Agency, only 13% of burn injuries that were treated at emergency rooms in 2008 were due to fire or flames. More than 216,000 people went to emergency rooms last year for treatment of burn injuries. The majority of those burns (55 percent) were thermal burns, most often resulting from contact with hot objects. Other types of burn injuries seen in emergency rooms included scalds (28 percent), chemical burns (8 percent), radiation burns (6 percent), and electrical burns (2 percent).

The NFPA report noted that children under the age of five face the highest risk of non-fire thermal burns, scald, chemical, and electrical burns. People over 65 had the lowest rate for these burns, but the highest rate of home civilian fire deaths.

“We want to show people how to avoid risky habits or behaviors so they can prevent fires in their homes,” said Louisville Fire Chief Greg Frederick. “Having a working smoke detector in every home is a critical element of fire safety. We hope sharing this information will reduce the numbers of fires and injuries in our city.”

Louisville firefighters will kick off Fire Prevention Week on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Frederick and several suburban fire chiefs will lay a wreath at the firefighter memorial in Jefferson Square at 10:30 a.m. After the ceremony, city and suburban firefighters will meet the mayor and fire chiefs at the National City Plaza, located at Fifth and Market streets, where they’ll give away information on fire safety and serve free chili.

On Sunday, Oct. 11, firefighters invite families to celebrate the 25th annual Great Louisville Fire Drill from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Waterfront Park. Visitors can enjoy free food, live entertainment, and fire prevention education. Free parking is available at the garage on Witherspoon St. Families are encouraged to practice their own escape drills over the weekend.

“It’s never too early to start talking to your kids about fire safety,” said Paul Barth, chief of McMahan Fire District and the mayor’s liaison to suburban fire districts. “During Fire Prevention Week, we’re looking forward to helping families learn how to avoid some common causes of fires and burns. We want to keep everyone safe.”

Louisville Fire Statistics (Urban and Suburban Departments):

37 civilian injuries
91 firefighter injuries
5 civilian deaths

2009 (to date):
24 civilian injuries
141 firefighter injuries
16 civilian deaths