Electrical safety takes center stage this month

By Fire Safety, NFPA

May is National Electrical Safety Month. The Electrical Safety Foundation International commemorates the occasion with an annual campaign to educate the public about steps to reduce electrical-related fires, fatalities, injuries, and property losses.

According to NFPA's Electrical Fires report, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 47,820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction in 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.

NFPA’s toolkit on electrical safety provides support materials to help fire departments conduct successful electrical safety campaigns in their communities, including talking points, community outreach ideas, printable PSA’s, media materials, and a video.

In addition, the electrical section of the NFPA website includes information on electrical safety in the home and the Electrical Safety tips sheet, which includes reminders on when to call in a qualified electrician or your landlord.

Burglar bars examined in fatal Texas fire

By Fire Safety, NFPA

Houston fire officials say that burglar bars made it difficult to get inside a home that caught fire last week. Two adults and a child died as a result of the blaze. According to click2houston.com, Donovan Johnson, 36, was trapped in the house and died at the scene. His pregnant fiancé, Tera Miles, 27, and her three-year-old daughter, Jah’ Niyah Walker, were taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead.

"We had some access problems," said Senior Capt. Ruy Lozano of Houston Fire Department. "The structure had burglar bars all over, although it does keep crime out, it also keeps people in."

The escape planning section of NFPA’s website has the Clear Your Escape Routes brochure in English and Spanish on how to be safe without hindering escaping or being rescued in a fire.

Details are included on hurricane shutters, padlocks, plastic insulation, and security bars that come with a quick release mechanism.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.