Louisville Home Fire Inspections Pay Off
IN A CONTINUOUS EFFORT to reduce the number of dwelling fires in the community, the Louisville, Ky.,
Fire Department, under the command of Chief John H. Krusenklaus, conducts a year-round fire inspection program. Statistics compiled by the fire prevention bureau show that prior to the institution of the program of inspection, 80 per cent of all fires occurring in that city were in residences. In addition, this type of fire has been responsible for 81 per cent of the fire deaths.
The inspection system is based upon the members of each company visiting all homes in their district. To acquaint the members of the department with the objectives and the methods necessary for successfully carrying it out, the fire prevention bureau prepared an instruction pamphlet covering all phases of the work.
The instructions clearly state the philosophy of home inspections and outline the duties. The hours during which calls shall be made on home owners and the days of the week are noted, as well as the uniform which shall be worn by all members. A step-by-step approach to the actual inspection is spelled out in very simple form in order that all personnel may quickly grasp the procedures to be followed.
Hazards to look for in the various rooms of the house are covered as well as the actual rooms to be inspected. The instructions specifically state that only attics, basements, utility rooms, storage rooms, kitchens, garages and sheds will be inspected. Other rooms in the house may be inspected only upon the invitation of the occupant.
Residence Fires in Louisville— Five-Year Period
When hazards are found, the men are instructed not to order corrections made. Instead they are advised to explain the hazard, point out its potential danger and suggest the proper method of correction.
When the inspection is completed, the householder is given the original copy of a check list report form. This provides the occupant with a reference list of the corrections to be made. At the same time, a small pamphlet containing instructions on conducting home fire drills and evacuation programs is provided. This stresses safe practices and places particular emphasis on removing children to safety. In addition, important instructive material concerning civil defense for householders is distributed.
The results of the program have proven its effectiveness and encouraged even greater effort. Home fires have decreased by 27 per cent in the five-year period 1954 to 1958. Contrasted with this is the fact that the total number of houses in the city has increased by 15 per cent due to natural growth and annexation. According to Chief Krusenklaus, the results have more than justified the efforts to inaugurate and continue the service.