Fires can impact communities in a variety of forms and are among the deadliest hazards nation-wide. Specifically to Bellevue, fires can cause damage through large single structural fires, multi-structure fires, industrial fires, and vehicle fires. According to FEMA statistics, about 50% of residential fires are started by cooking, 12% by heating issues, and 6% by electrical malfunctions. Fires can be started in many other different ways including smoking, appliances, open flames, and arson.
Fire safety begins with smoke alarms and established fire escape plans. Make sure that there are smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside bedrooms. Test your smoke alarms every month to ensure that they are working and have enough battery power. Plan a fire escape plan and practice with your family, roommates or co-workers twice a year. If a fire occurs in your home, get out of the building and stay out. Do not go back inside for any reason.
While fires are still a significant danger, their impact has declined in certain areas in recent years. The amount of fires, deaths and injuries related to fires, and damage in terms of money have all noticeably dropped in numbers since 2005. These positive changes can mostly be attributed to better education on fire safety, a decrease in smoking and an increase in smoke alarms. Despite these improvements, fires are still one of the most dangerous hazards today and practicing personal fire safety remains vitally important.