Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fire Prevention Month needs to get here soon...

News of the recent multi-fatality fire in Atoka (Tipton County) brought to mind two words: Tragic, and Typical.

No immediate information is available on the cause and origin of the fire, so it is too early to draw many conclusions. Rural Tennessee is, however, not unfamiliar territory for multi-fatality events, and it seems every year we have one or two significant loss-of-life fires in these areas. That's not to say that our metropolitan areas are immune, as fires in Nashville and Memphis in recent years have also claimed a relatively large number of the citizen's we are protecting.

The Tipton County blaze brings September's media-reported fatality total to 10, which more than doubles any other September total since 2005 (when FTT started tracking this data). Additionally, the media-reported total for 2010 now EQUALS the total for all twelve months of 2009... And here we were thinking that statewide prevention efforts were getting better, as the annual media-reported totals have been trending downward since '05. Reality check.

Another reality check would be the recent events in Franklin, as the City experienced not one, but two fire fatalities in the span of 30 days... their first since 2004. Franklin wouldn't typically be mentioned in the discussion of lower-income areas that are usually associated with fire deaths. Instead, being neither inner-city or rural, in the opinion of most, they would be classified in "bubble-protected", well-to-do suburbia that is frequently considered immune from such events. They have a progressive, well-equipped, well-staffed, well-trained fire department, providing top-notch fire prevention efforts.

Just goes to show that no matter what your jurisdiction's median home value ($300,000 in Franklin; barely half that in Atoka), the citizens we protect ARE at risk, and we must make every effort to provide the BEST level of protection available.

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