Find out more about the Safe at Home campaign.
NFPA Journal® Online Exclusive, February 2008
By Yvonne Robinson Horton
I am very grateful to call Bolton, Mississippi, my hometown. In a town like Bolton, everyone becomes your extended family, and we watch out for one another. After seeing devastating fires destroy the homes of two family friends just weeks apart, I found myself wanting to help them, wanting to stop that kind of pain. In Mississippi, which has the highest fire death rate of any state in the country, there is already too much pain.
When a fire occurs, we not only want to help the family who lost their home or, heaven forbid, a loved one, but we want to help prevent this tragedy from happening to anyone else. So when NFPA and the Safe at Home-Preventing Fires in Mississippi program came along, I knew I had found my latest mission.
I became part of the Safe at Home-Preventing Fires in Mississippi team months ago, a team of first responders, teachers, clergy, business owners, elected officials, and other folks from all walks of life who care about keeping the people of Mississippi safe at home. This program works through community leaders and activists, engaging those in the community who, like me, want to make a difference.
Across the state, people are reaching out, participating in the Safe at Home-Preventing Fires in Mississippi campaign to reduce the number of house fires by offering information to Mississippians that will help keep them safe in their everyday lives. Churches are giving members safety tips. High school superintendents are displaying posters with tips in lunchrooms. Neighborhoods are banding together to help each other remember fire safety tips. Head Start programs are planning fire-safety activities for their kids. People all across the state are getting involved in this movement to make Mississippi a safer place to live.
The tips are simple steps anyone and everyone should take not only in their own homes, but in their parent's homes, their children's homes, and the homes of friends. Where can you find them? Visit the Safe at Home-Preventing Fires in Mississippi website.
In 2007, 79 fire deaths were reported to the Mississippi State Fire Marshal's Office and this number continues to be high year after year. Headlines through the start of 2008 have told the all-too-familiar stories of lives lost and homes destroyed. High rates of poverty, illiteracy, and smoking, combined with a largely rural population, create fire risks and barriers to fire prevention in the state. Additional challenges are created by continued racial, economic, and geographic divisions.
Many Mississippians are unaware of the fire risks their daily activities pose. Cooking, for example, is leading cause of home fires. Careless smoking and the use of space and electric heaters are also leading causes of fire deaths in the state. Many families in Mississippi lack central heating, and it is not uncommon for them to rely on space or electric heaters, ovens, and stoves to stay warm.
In light of Mississippi's fire death rate, NFPA selected it for the first state-focused fire-safety education program. Through a federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security, this program has been made a reality and is spreading the messages of fire safety.
What Can You Do?
If you would like to get involved in the Safe at Home-Preventing Fires in Mississippi program, please let us know. You can play an active role in spreading the word about fire prevention in Mississippi by distributing Safe at Home materials in your community. In addition to the fact sheets, posters, bookmarks, and other printable materials are available for free download at www.safeathome-ms.org, you can also contact the campaign to receive other materials not available on the website, such as pins, magnets, and stickers.
If you would like to be a part of this important Mississippi movement, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org toll free at (888)-MS-FIRE1.
From the Gulf Coast to the Delta, Mississippi's people and traditions vary greatly, but this statewide effort is designed to reach each community and every person with important fire-prevention messages and resources. Together, we are working to make Mississippi a safer place to live.
In this Section:
|In a Flash: Q&A
2008 brings a new edition of NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.
|Arson and Economic Conditions: Is There a Link?
The recent wave of home mortgage foreclosures has raised a new variation of the recurring question of whether there is a link between arson and trends in the economy.
|Making Mississippians Safer at Home
Last year 79 fire deaths were reported to the Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office and this number continues to be high year after year.