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Staring at dancing flames and listening to the crackle and pop of a campfire can be a relaxing and fun way to spend an evening. But while such fires can be a great opportunity for family bonding, fire is of course a deadly force, and its capacity for destruction should never be underestimated.
For a fire to exist, three elements must always be present: fuel, a heat source, and oxygen. The exothermic chemical reaction that results from this trio sustains a fire and allows it to spread. If any one of the three elements is removed, a fire can be extinguished. Unfortunately, many house fires spread so rapidly that escape takes priority over extinguishment. All families, particularly those with young children, should be prepared for the possibility of a house fire.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), more than 3,400 U.S. residents die in fires every year. Ninety percent of these deaths occur in home fires. And perhaps most tragically, when the source of a fire is attributed to “playing with a heat source,” children under the age of 10 make up 93% of related deaths. Children under age 5 are especially at risk; their natural curiosity about fire and their inability to escape from one without adult assistance makes for a deadly combination. Of all children under age 14 who die in home fires, more than half of them are under 5.
These alarming statistics point to a need for families to take steps to prevent a fire, teach their children what to do in a fire, and prepare the entire family for the possibility of a fire. Some time spent in preparation can make the difference between life and death in the future.
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