Reality Blankets Available Technology
The holiday season that carries us from the end of 1985 to the beginning of the new year affords us many occasions to make the transition as gaily as possible. Most of us, that is.
The fire service, while smiling and celebrating in one direction, is constantly looking over their shoulders, wondering.
This time of year is usually rung in by sadness and disaster for most of us charged with protecting life and property from fire. Fire, with its unconscionable abandon, usually manages to snap us to reality by snuffing out defenseless young children in these would be most joyous occasions.
We all can recall the horrible aftermath of structural life loss that always seems more prevalent at times like these.
The grimmest of reapers was not to be “cheated” this year either. In the first few days of December alone, 21 children were killed in structural fires in the United States. Fire department brothers were saddened in Chicago, IL; Dayton, OH; Detroit, MI; Prince Frederick, MD; and Chickasha, OK. I am sure that as you read this, there are additional tired heads of blaze beaters nodding in many other hamlets, villages, towns, and cities across the nation.
How long must this horror go on? Plastered and soot-ladened body bags carried by tear-streaked faces of frustrated firefighters must be pushed from the present further and further back into memory.
Deaths and injuries from fires occurring this season have a common bond. They all were a result of accidental ignition within oneand twofamily dwellings. Sound familiar? It should.
Every year, statistics like these mount, and mostly in the same category, private dwellings. The National Fire Protection Association’s painstaking efforts in data gathering tell us over and over that civilian life loss due to fire in these occupancies account for more than 80% of our national life loss due to all fires. Sound familiar? I know.
Relatively recent strides in the early detection of these holocausts have accounted for extra precious moments for those who would ordinarily be statistics to escape. Two-thirds of our nation’s homeowners are aware. Two thirds have added the time protection of smoke detectors to their homes through intense public education efforts—unfortunately, usually following on the heels of disasters such as these.
We have the education and prevention ball rolling. Let’s make this new year begin with a firmer resolution to rid our nation of these holiday nightmares once and for all.
Like you, I am firmly convinced that properly designed and installed automatic wet sprinkler systems are the answer to the reversal of this national statistic.
We have the records. We have the imagination and engineering in place. We have the water delivered to the edge of the blueprint. Why can’t we get the droplets from the quick opening sprinkler head where it belongs—on the fire that blocks the egress and eventually causes the deaths of family members in private dwellings.
Sound familiar? Maybe not yet. But with a firm commitment, it will.