According to The Hartford Home Fire Index, which ranks 100 cities based on their home fire risk, the top five highest risks are: Detroit, Mich.; Shreveport, La.; Boston, Mass.; Flint, Mich. and Richmond, Va.
Cities ranked six through 10 for home fire risk are: Trenton, N.J.; St. Louis, Mo.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Memphis, Tenn. and Augusta, Ga.
The index is based on an analysis of the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and a survey conducted by The Hartford on fire safety and prevention behaviors among the general population. The Hartford is promoting the index in conjunction with awarding $2 million in fire safety grants i celebration of the 70th anniversary of its Junior Fire Marshal Program, which is one of the country’s oldest corporate-sponsored public education programs.
The fire safety funding and resources will go to local school districts and fire departments in the 100 U.S. cities identified in The Hartford’s Home Fire Index. In addition, the company will provide educational materials to 1.5 million children in kindergarten through third grade.
“Since The Hartford’s beginning as a fire insurance company more than 200 years ago, we have been committed to fire prevention and safety,” said The Hartford’s Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift, citing the legacy of the Junior Fire Marshal program. “Our goal is to empower everyday kids to become everyday heroes by providing them with the tools and training to reduce fire risk in their homes and be safe.”
A home fire is reported in the U.S. every 86 seconds and 33 percent of home fires are started by children 6-9 years old, according to the insurer.
History of Junior Fire Marshal Program
The Junior Fire Marshal program was started in 1947 by an employee of The Hartford. Since the program’s inception, The Hartford has deputized more than 110 million Junior Fire Marshals. The program teaches lifesaving lessons such as Stop, Drop and Roll, Go Low in Smoke and Draw a Home Fire Escape Plan.
Over the years, celebrities such as Ron Howard, Dick Van Dyke, Jack Benny, Jimmy Dean, Mr. Green Jeans and Captain Kangaroo, Carol Channing, Red Skelton, Johnny Carson, Robert Young, Henry “the Fonz” Winkler and Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan have helped The Hartford recognize children who participated in the Junior Fire Marshal program.
Over the next three years, The Hartford is making a $2 million donation and commitment to the following:
- Donate $10,000 — to the public school district in each of the 100 cities to support ongoing fire safety education for a total of $1 million.
- Donate $10,000 — to local fire departments in each of the 100 cities to support ongoing fire safety education for a total of $1 million.
- Provide educational materials to 1.5 million children in kindergarten through third grade in each of the public schools in the 100 cities. The Hartford Junior Fire Marshal classroom kit comes with The Hartford’s signature red fire helmets, an educator and parent guide and coloring posters designed to introduce fire safety concepts to children.
The Hartford has also created a mobile fire safety house that will visit schools in select cities across the U.S. giving fire safety demonstrations using state-of-the-art technology that simulates various home fire situations.