PIKESVILLE, Md. (March 07, 2010)—Maryland State Fire Marshal William E. Barnard announced 73 Marylanders died in 62 fatal fires during 2009. Those fire deaths represent a 22 percent increase from the 60 fire deaths that resulted from 53 fatal fires in 2008, but reflect a 22 percent decrease from the 94 fire deaths in 67 fatal fires reported in 2007.
The majority (48) of the fire deaths occurred during the first half of 2009. Once again, smoking related fires resulted in more fire deaths than any other cause accounting for 23 percent of the fire deaths, where the cause of the fire was determined. Just over 76 percent of all fatal fires in Maryland in 2009 occurred in residential structures. Marylanders are still most likely to die from fire in the place they hope to feel most safe their homes.
There is good news in ten counties where there were no reported fire fatalities, these include: Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Dorchester, Garrett, Harford, Queen Annes, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester. Montgomery County reported three fire deaths in two fires compared to 13 fire deaths in seven fires in 2008 and Anne Arundel County suffered only one fire fatality in 2009, while four persons died in fires during 2008.
A review of fire death data indicates that people must become more personally involved in fire safety. Far too many times, fire investigators find that smoke alarms are either not present or did not operate.
Every Marylander should exercise personal responsibility for themselves and their families and ensure that they have smoke alarms in their home and that they are working, according to the State Fire Marshal. If you are building a new home, consider installing residential fire sprinklers. When used in combination, fire sprinkler systems, working smoke alarms and home fire escape plans, citizens are better able to protect themselves and their families from the perils of uncontrolled fire. Even the best equipped, trained and staffed fire department is no substitute for this life-saving combination of safe practices.
Statewide fire death data is available at http://firemarshal.state.md.us/ .
Source: Office of Maryland State Fire Marshal