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national fire prevention week

Remembering and Learning From the Bay Area ’91 Firestorm

By Kelly Balamuth on October 28, 2011

Northern California Fire Safety PrecautionsOn the heels of National Fire Prevention Week (October 9 to October 15) comes another reminder of the importance of fire preparedness: the 20th anniversary of the 1991 Berkeley Oakland Hills Firestorm. The monstrous urban wildfire ravaged the area for three days and resulted in 25 fatalities and 3,354 lost homes.

Since that tragic fire two decades ago, state and local municipalities have invested many millions of dollars into heightening fire safety measures. These measures have taken the form of increased emergency response, vegetational management, and community preparations. There have also been large strides in construction and building requirements to which all property owners and builders must adhere.

Some of these updated construction and building requirements include:

  • Ensuring that roofs are at least Class A (protective against major fire exposure); wooden roof components are not allowed.
  • Using spark arrestors when re-roofing or updating with specific types of heating apparatus.
  • Adhering to new rules for safe wall coverings.
  • Using new standards for connecting electricity and power.
  • Taking additional measures if property is located in a region classified as high fire danger; measures may include indoor sprinklers, cautionary systems, streets for emergency access, and more.

As we previously blogged regarding fire prevention week, citizens must remain vigilant and aware to do their part in combating deadly fires and staying safe in the event of one. Preventative safety measures for renters and homeowners include: developing a solid fire escape plan, using proper smoke alarms, practicing safety in the kitchen and beyond, avoiding indoor smoking or open flames. If you’ve been injured by a fire accident in Berkeley or Oakland that you believe was caused by another party’s negligence, contact the Northern California burn injury attorneys with Balamuth Harrington at (888) 254-1234.

Guidelines for Preventing Fires and Burn Injuries

By Kelly Balamuth on October 21, 2011

Every household should have an active fire prevention and evacuation plan in place. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) calculates that over 386,000 accidental fires occur in homes every year. Based on data from 2006 to 2008, every year over 12,500 injuries and approximately 2,400 deaths resulted from fires.

The week of October 9 to October 15 was Fire Prevention Week, and the CPSC and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) worked together to remind families across the country about the importance of fire preparedness. The two government groups gave the following advice for staying safe, in addition to some other tips, as part of a special guide:

  • Be very careful with fireplaces and heaters: These household devices comprised the second biggest source of residential fires (just after kitchen appliances) during 2006 to 2008. Almost 57,000 fires and 220 fatalities resulted from fires in that period, according to the CPSC. Fireplaces accounted for the majority.
  • Beware of mattress fires: Mattresses are a common source of house fires. Make sure your mattress is certified by federal flame resistance specifications. Always safely extinguish candles when exiting any room, and never let kids play with any kind of flame.
  • Don’t smoke: And if you do, never smoke while in bed. Smoking caused the highest rate of deaths due to home fires, approximately 600 every year during the 2006-2008 period.

Additional tips covered in the CPSC/ NFPA guidelines include: kitchen and electrical safety, the proper use and placement of smoke alarms, and the formulation of a solid family evacuation plan. If you or a family member has suffered a burn injury in Northern California that you believe was caused by another party’s negligence, contact the Walnut Creek burn injury attorneys with Balamuth Harrington. Call 1(888)254-1234 for a complimentary case review.

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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