Is your community “inoculated”​ against preventable fires?

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

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Well, is it? Are you and your family inoculated against preventable fires?

You may think that it’s enough that you inform yourself about how to prevent fires and act to improve and protect your environment (e.g., your home or business) from a preventable fire.

But you probably live in a community with other people and what if they have a preventable fire? That fire could be next door and spread to your home. Or your business? Just like a preventable disease like the measles or Hepatitis A or the flu.

Read this outstanding piece: Your Home…Your Palace or Pyre?

Vaccinations are an important tool in preventing the spread of disease but to be really effective enough people have to have vaccinations to protect those who can’t get the vaccine (e.g., too young or allergic to the vaccine).


“Often the people we need to protect with herd immunity are most vulnerable to serious disease.”—Amanda Cohn, MD, a pediatrician and senior adviser for vaccines at the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Heard of “herd immunity?” The term describes the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination.

According to Michael Brady, MD, associate medical director at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, and a member of the hospital’s Division of Infectious Diseases, the more contagious a disease is, the higher percentage you need.”

Brady goes on to say that to get herd immunity against measles, for example, 93% to 95% of people in a community have to be vaccinated. In other words, about 95 out of every 100 people have to get the vaccine to prevent the disease.

It’s the same with preventable fires. The most vulnerable members of society are the very young (who don’t know enough to act appropriately when confronted with fire) and the very old (who, because of age or physical infirmities, are unable to respond appropriately when confronted with fire).

National Fire Prevention Week 2019 is fast approaching (October 6-12)! This year’s theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” The escape you need to plan and practice is your family’s Home Fire Escape Plan.

Fire safety is critical life skills that is often ignored. Do you want to die in your home or have someone in your home not make it out safely? Maintaining your life safety devices like smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are critically important but do not forget about making an escape plan. If you do not think it is important to make that plan, why not think about planning a funeral and some grief counselling if you survive.

Is that a shocking statement to make? Are you offended? That is the reality of it; no sugar coating, no bake sale, no Kumbaya, no kneeling on the front yard asking GOD why.

—Duncan Rydall, Chief Fire Prevention Officer, Town of The Blue Mountains, Ontario, Canada

So, it’s incumbent upon the rest of us to become “vaccinated” through effective fire and life safety education and training. And that’s where the FireED Community comes into the picture.

Logo courtesy of FireED Community

At the FireED Community, you’ll find everything you and your community need to really begin getting enough people in your town or city or county inoculated against preventable fires so that you have “herd immunity!” Teaching tools, knowledge, and expertise in building public and private efforts, efforts that are necessary to “inoculate” entire communities against preventable fires.

So, I’ll ask you again. Is your community “inoculated”​ against preventable fires?

About Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

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Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for FireRescue1.com and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec and his wife of 30+ years now make their home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail, rpa1157@gmail.com.