6 Reasons Fire Safety Is Important 

Fire safety is not only something you have to think about when at home but when at the workplace as well. It’s about more than saving lives, even if that is the most paramount concern when prioritizing fire safety. Why are some other reasons it’s so important?

Here are 6 reasons why fire safety is important:

  • Teaches fire detection 
  • Safeguards property
  • Prevents loss of human life
  • It’s the law
  • Protects our environment
  • Prevents fires

In this guide, we’ll go over each reason above to prioritize fire safety so that whether you’re concerned about fires at home, in school, at work, or all the above, you and those you spend time around can be far safer! 

1. Teaches Fire Detection

The earlier that one can detect a fire, the sooner one can evacuate and call emergency services to send the fire department over right away.

This measure can save lives and limit property losses, two other benefits of fire safety that we’ll talk about later in this guide.

By the time you smell smoke or see flames, it’s too late. 

Fire detection technology such as smoke alarms and fire alarms are getting more sophisticated all the time. Although it’s frustrating when they go off because you burned dinner, in any other situation, you should be grateful for them.

Smoke alarms are a critical part of any fire safety plan, be that at home or the workplace. 

According to My Smoke Alarm.org, statistics from the National Fire Protection Association or NFPA found that three in five deaths caused by house fires were attributed to smoke alarm issues.

In 17 percent of cases, smoke alarms were installed but not operational. In 40 percent of cases, the home had no smoke alarm. 

Per the NFPA, here are some smoke alarm installation best practices to keep in mind:

  • If using interconnecting smoke alarms, they should all be from one manufacturer.
  • Do not put decorations, stickers, or paint on a smoke alarm. You can prevent the sensor from working, rendering the alarm useless.
  • Do not install smoke alarms by ducts, doors, or windows. Air drafts can stop them from working properly.
  • For pitched ceilings, the smoke alarm should be installed within at least three feet of the ceiling peak. Do not install the alarm on the peak’s apex. 
  • If mounting a smoke alarm on a wall, it should be 12 inches or closer to the ceiling.
  • If you have a smoke alarm in the basement, you need an additional alarm on the main floor. 
  • Each bedroom should have a smoke alarm, as should each level of the house. 
  • Test your smoke alarm every month. 

2. Safeguards Property

The next reason why fire safety is so important is to preserve property.

It doesn’t matter what kind of property we’re talking about, from residential homes to commercial buildings and anything in between.

To assemble these buildings cost tens of thousands and sometimes even millions of dollars. 

Older buildings may feature architectural designs that have since been discontinued for more modern touches. Property also has intense sentimental value in the case of homes or schools.

Yet a fire can wipe out mass amounts of property in an instant. According to the Insurance Information Institute or III, property losses from fires have been in the millions of dollars since 2011.

Here’s a table that puts it all together.

YearProperty Losses

As you can see, the amount of property losses in millions of dollars fluctuates but continues to be high. 

The loss of property can devastate towns and cities. Children don’t have a school to attend, businesspeople are displaced, perhaps even permanently, possibly losing their jobs. 

Homeowners are also left without the place they cherish and felt safe in the most. They’ll have to start over from literal scratch and find a way to make a new house feel like a home.

Property losses from fires also cost townships and communities money. This money isn’t stimulating the local economy, as it’s being spent to replace what was lost, not add on to what a city or town already has. 

Fire safety can prevent the loss of this property, allowing more lives to go unchanged. 

3. Prevents the Loss of Human Life

While property is replaceable, at least to an extent, the same cannot be said about human lives. If a fire snuffs those out, there is no rebuilding after the loss.

The National Safety Council or NSC, in conjunction with the NFPA, predicts that every three hours, at least one death from a house fire will occur. 

In 2020 alone, the United States experienced 1,388,500 fires in total. Those fires led to 3,500 deaths.

The NSC further notes that the 2020 fire death trend was so unsettling because numbers had been at an all-time low just eight years prior in 2012. 

The jump in fire deaths from 2012 to 2020 was 23 percent higher. 

These are needless deaths, as many probably could have been prevented with fire safety training. 

People don’t always know the proper fire evacuation protocols. Some were taught these protocols in school, which can feel like eons ago to most adults. Others might never have been taught even basic protocols.

We’re talking about things like fire drills, fire evacuation steps, and the premise of stop, drop, and roll if one’s clothes ever catch on fire. 

People can panic when in a fire and forget everything they learned, and that can undoubtedly contribute to some sources of death.

However, we’d say that a lack of fire safety knowledge is a bigger contributing factor.

Obviously, there’s no way to be sure, but if a person doesn’t know what to do and has no time to ask, their chances of escape or rescue from a fire seem far lower. 

We’d say there is no single more important reason for fire safety than preserving human lives. 

Every person who knows to leave a burning building rather than stay and try to get stuff or put out the fire is a person whose life is saved. 

4. It’s the Law

If you’re an employer, then teaching fire safety is more than optional. It’s required by the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act 2005, specifically Section 19

Per Section 19, “Every employer shall identify the hazards in the place of work under his or her control, assess the risks presented by those hazards and be in possession of a written assessment (to be known and referred to in this Act as a ‘risk assessment’) of the risk to the safety, health, and welfare at work of his and her employees, including the safety, health, and welfare of any single employee or group or groups of employees who may be exposed to any unusual or other risks under the relevant statutory provisions.”

In other words, if you’re a boss, manager, or owner of a company, you’re legally required to frequently carry out risk assessments at your place of work for the safety and wellbeing of your employees.

If you’re an employee, then you should be able to reasonably trust that your boss, manager, or owner of the company is carrying out these risk assessments for your own wellbeing. 

The risk assessments entail determining the building’s risk of fire, including any current hazards that may exist that could become a fire hazard now or in the future.

More so than merely identifying these hazards, as part of a risk assessment, an employer must also create a viable solution to the fire hazard problem either on their lonesome or with other key stakeholders in the company.

They’re also required to draft a preventative action plan that employees and others in the building can follow to safeguard the building and the lives of those who use it. 

5. Protects Our Environment

When a fire occurs, it’s natural for our thought processes to first be concerned with the potential loss of life, and then the loss of property.

We can get so fixated on material possessions that we don’t even think about the larger environmental ramifications of the fire.

It goes so much further beyond the immediate destruction of timber, forests, grasses, plants, and other environments that many local wildlife call home.

A wildfire can cause the soil to turn hydrophobic, which means it cannot absorb water. 

Now sediment and debris can collect in the water, including pollutants, and enter larger water supplies, perhaps even the water supply that pumps into your city or town. 

Ash can also easily enter the water supply, bringing with it heavy metals that are likely not safe for human consumption.

Although the water can be filtered to remove the heavy metals and other contaminants, that depends on the extent and severity of the fire. 

If the water is unable to be filtered, then it will continue traveling beyond your city or town, affecting others in the vicinity, including both people and wildlife.

Speaking of wildlife, many of these creatures can be left without a home after a fire, so they seek a new home elsewhere. 

This can disrupt the food chain in that ecosystem, preventing other creatures from having an available food supply.

If homes burn and they’re older properties, they could release asbestos into the air, which is extremely dangerous for all living things. 

Fires also allow more emissions to enter the air which could contribute even more so to global warming. 

6. Prevents Fires 

In a nutshell, fire safety prevents fires.

People will be more well-versed on what causes fires and what the proper protocol is when a fire occurs (evacuate and contact emergency services).

They’ll create fire prevention plans and fire safety plans so that if a fire does occur, people can escape quickly and contact the fire department.  

The safer, smarter, and more educated the average person is about fire safety, the more that devastating property losses and human life losses from fires can decrease. 

When Is Fire Safety Month?

Although fire safety is best prioritized all year long, there is a dedicated month for it called Fire Safety Month.

Fire Safety Month is every October. There’s also a dedicated week in October known as Fire Safety Week, which is October 9th through the 15th.

Why does Fire Safety Month exist? That’s simple. 

Fire Safety Month puts the necessary amount of emphasis on fire prevention and all the myriad of benefits that come with it as discussed in the section prior. 

Families, employers, and all nature of people can remember why it’s so important to learn about fire risks, check their smoke detectors, and create an evacuation plan. 

Bottom Line

Fire safety should be a chief concern of anyone living on this vast planet of ours.

Learning about and implementing fire safety measures can preserve property, follow legal requirements for businesses, save our ailing environment, and–most importantly of all–prevent thousands of needless deaths from fires that occur each and every year.

Employers, don’t wait until Fire Safety Month in October. Open a dialogue about fire safety in your office during the next workday. Your employees will be glad you did.

Families, there is no better time than now to sit your loved ones down and discuss the risks of fire. Create an evacuation plan and do a fire drill to make sure everyone remembers to follow the plan.

We can all do our part to prevent fires!