Acting DHS Commissioner, Dr. Arthur Evans says “the goal is very simple, we want to save lives.” Together, Evans and Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers are raising the bar for fire safety in Philadelphia. Between January and September of this year, there have been 44 fire fatalities in the city; many of them could have been avoided with a working smoke alarm. After learning that many of these fires affected children in DHS care, Evans sought the Fire Department’s help and cooperation in developing an immediate response.
As part of the service offered to families, the PFD has provided helpful tips about how to protect one’s home from imminent fire threats. It’s important to have at least one smoke alarm per each floor of a house. DHS has purchased smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries but even those should be tested monthly. Tampering with smoke alarms is a frighteningly common practice. People often remove the batteries of an alarm that they think has been triggered accidentally (burning food, cigarettes, etc.) But, Philadelphia families are now being taught the importance of having adequate fire safety equipment.
Thanks to the cooperation and commitment from both DHS and PFD employees, 2008 will hopefully see a continued decline in fire fatalities.