The Tennessee State Fire Marshal (SFMO) reports that for the second consecutive year, Tennessee fire deaths decreased to a new state-record low while the number of lives saved by smoke alarms installed by the state’s fire departments continues to climb. SFMO said fewer unintentional structure fire fatalities occurred in 2015 than in any year in recorded Tennessee history, including a milestone year achieved last year.
Seventy-two people died in accidental home fires across the state in 2015 — down from 76 fatalities in 2014. Both years were record-breaking improvements compared to 2013’s fire fatality total of 100.
The three leading causes of 2015’s fire fatalities were smoking, electrical distribution (wiring, outlets,) and heating, according to the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System (TFIRS). TFIRS indicates that nearly 80 percent of last year’s state fire deaths took place in homes where no smoke alarm was known to have been present.
“The loss of life in a fire is a tragic event that we are committed to stopping,” Tennessee Commerce & Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak said. “Our partners in the Tennessee fire service community have worked diligently to prevent loss of life, and our teamwork is paying off. Going forward, we will not be complacent, and we will continue to make risk-reduction initiatives our top priority.”
Tennessee reported a 28 percent reduction in fire fatalities over the last five years (2011-2015) from the previous five-year average (2006-2010) when the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) ranked Tennessee as No. 6 in the nation for fire deaths.
“The continued reduction of fire fatalities in our state is a result of the dedication and commitment of the entire Tennessee fire service,” said Gary West, TDCI Deputy Commissioner for Fire Prevention. “A key part of the SFMO’s lifesaving mission is promoting the importance of smoke alarms. Our ‘Get Alarmed’ program continues to see great success due to partnerships with local fire departments and agencies like the Red Cross.”
Launched in November 2012, the “Get Alarmed Tennessee” program has distributed more than 100,000 smoke alarms by the SFMO. The smoke alarms, installed by fire service partners, are credited with saving 121 Tennesseans from fire danger so far. Thirty-six of those saves occurred in 2015 alone.
Source: Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance