NFPA President James Shannon drives this point home in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal, citing preventative efforts across the U.S. that appear to be diminishing deadly and costly tragedies. Here's a snippet from Shannon's column, which underscores a few examples:
I had a conversation in the grocery store with a fire chief from a city near where I live. He told me about a great campaign that he just launched. His city has a large immigrant community and a tight housing market, and many people have created illegal apartments. Whole families are paying exorbitant rents to live in basements where there are inadequate exits and too few electrical outlets. Cooking is done on hot plates or rigged-up appliances.
The chief told me that his firefighters are knocking on doors all over the city, and when they find these illegal units they make the landlords move the families out and into hotels immediately.
The alternative is that the landlord pays for a fire watch — at a cost of $1,500 a day — until the family is relocated. The firefighters also make sure that there are working smoke alarms in every home they visit. If there are none, they install them, and they replace any batteries that have expired or been removed.
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