Home Christmas Tree Fires Create Higher Annual Death Rates Greater Risk for Emergency Responder Health
Majority of fire deaths caused by smoke inhalation; Orange County responders to receive training on the “Toxic Twins” – The hidden danger for firefighters
San Jose, Calif. – Dec. 10, 2013 – According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2006 to 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 230 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees. Home Christmas tree fires caused an average of four civilian deaths, 21 civilian injuries, and $17.3 million in direct property damage per year.
While these incidents are not common, they are much more likely to cause serious damage and death than other types of home fires. The NFPA has detailed that on average, one of every 66 reported Christmas tree-related home structure fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home structure fires. With the majority of fire deaths caused by smoke inhalation and not burns, both responders and civilian should understand the dangers presented by smoke.
To help educate firefighters and civilians on the dangers of smoke inhalation, particularly during the upcoming holiday season, RAE Systems will collaborate with the Fire Smoke Coalition to deliver the “Know Your Smoke: The Dangers of Fire Smoke Exposure” Symposium for firefighters and EMS personnel in Irvine, Calif. on December 13, 2013.
The free training will take place at the Orange County Fire Authority, 1 Fire Authority Road, Irvine, Calif. The training will provide firefighters with invaluable education on the dangerous health effects of fire smoke exposure and protocols on how to proceed safely and effectively during fire ground operations. Those interested in attending can find more information and register for this free training event online at http://bit.ly/1c7zg5g.
The conference includes a classroom session on Friday, December 13, followed by a live burn and smoke practical. The live burn practical will focus on the proper use of atmospheric monitoring equipment with an emphasis on monitoring hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide (HCN and CO). These are the only two treatable toxicants if smoke exposure occurs. During the live burn practical session, the instructors will focus on teaching firefighters how to conduct atmospheric monitoring at every fire scene through practical training exercises, while burning household items such as plastics, foams, synthetics, laminates and roofing materials. Most important, firefighters will learn that every fire scene is a HazMat environment – a cultural shift for fire departments throughout the world.
Toxic gas monitoring systems are an essential life-saving component of fire department equipment. The “Know Your Smoke” event will help educate firefighters and emergency personnel on their effective use to avoid dangerous smoke inhalation, especially during overhaul operations.
“There are still a lot of wide-spread misconceptions about the dangers of fire smoke and because we typically see a significant spike in fire-related incidents during the holiday season, it’s important to increase awareness and provide this resource now,” stated Shawn Longerich, executive director of the Fire Smoke Coalition. “These events are critical in keeping firefighters and the public safe and informed about the negative health effects of smoke exposure during a particularly dangerous time of year.”
Learn More, See More
- Register for the Irvine, Calif. Fire Smoke Symposium training event for first-responders HERE
- Watch videos on previous Fire Smoke training sessions and RAE Systems CO gas detectors and HCN gas detectors HERE and HERE
- Learn more and watch videos about real-time gas detection in the fire ground HERE
About The Fire Smoke Coalition
The mission of the Fire Smoke Coalition is to focus the required attention and resources on the deadly and life-long consequences of breathing fire smoke by teaching firefighters and first responders how to prevent, protect, detect, diagnose, and appropriately treat the exposure if it occurs. Learn more at www.firesmoke.org.
About RAE Systems Inc.
RAE Systems innovates, designs and manufactures gas monitors and radiation detectors. The company offers a full line of fixed and portable gas detection solutions, including handheld and personal chemical, compound and radiation detection instruments. RAE Systems’ real-time safety and detection systems have been deployed by organizations in the oil and gas, fire and HazMat, industrial safety, national security and environmental markets, helping save lives and maintain safety in 120 countries. The company’s industry-leading gas sensors and radiation detection solutions are widely recognized for their performance and reliability. Learn more at raesystems.com.
On June 4, 2013, Honeywell (NYSE: HON) completed its acquisition of RAE Systems Inc. The company will be integrated into Honeywell Analytics, part of Honeywell Life Safety (HLS) within Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions (ACS). Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes, and industry; turbochargers; and performance materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell’s shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com.
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National Fire Protection Agency; Christmas Tree and Holiday Lights; John R. Hall Jr.