The numbers are in for last year and the Chattanooga Fire Department reports that there were no fire-related deaths in Chattanooga for 2012. “We always strive to prevent all fire fatalities in Chattanooga,” said Fire Chief Randy Parker, “but we’re usually disappointed. This is obviously good news for us and the city we serve.”
Chief Parker attributes the success in part to the department’s fire prevention efforts -- headed up by Fire Marshal James Whitmire -- and a little luck. “Our Fire Prevention Bureau coordinates a lot of excellent public education events throughout the year,” said Chief Parker, “and I know that makes a big difference. But I also know there’s a certain amount of luck involved.”
Chattanooga firefighters are usually able to get most fires out quickly, but the majority of fire fatalities occur before firefighters ever arrive on the scene. The toxic smoke and intense heat from a fire can kill very quickly. That means it’s up to individuals to take care of themselves those first few critical minutes when a fire breaks out in their homes. Their first line of defense is having working smoke alarms on every level of the residence. Smoke alarms alert you to the fire before the flames have time to grow and block your exits. When the alarm sounds, everyone in that residence should get out immediately, go to a predetermined meeting place, and call 911. Additional fire safety tips are included below.
Basic Fire Safety Tips from the Chattanooga Fire Department
· Keep working smoke alarms on every level of your home. Check alarms regularly and replace batteries annually.
· Keep anything that will burn at least three feet away from heating appliances.
· Have a fire escape plan, including two ways out from every room.
· In the event of a fire, get out as quickly as you can and stay out. Have a meeting place outside.
· Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
· Do not overload extension cords or outlets.
· Never smoke when drowsy or medicated, and dispose of cigarette butts properly.
· Keep matches and lighters out of reach of small children.
· If you use candles, use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over. And blow out the candles when you leave the room.
Number of Fire Fatalities in Chattanooga In Previous Years
2002 – 8
2003 – 6
2004 – 9
2005 – 7
2006 – 4
2007 – 1
2008 – 1
2009 – 1
2010 – 3
2011 – 8
2012 - 0