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Local Fire Prevention Needs Partners

BALTIMORE, Nov. 10 (UPI) — U.S. residential fires resulted in more than 2,500 civilian deaths in 2009, 13,000 injuries and property loss of almost $7.8 billion, researchers say.

“Close to 90 percent of fire departments in the United States conduct fire and life safety programs, yet little is known about the factors that influence their success and sustainability,” said lead author Shannon Frattaroli, an assistant professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Delaware was chosen for the study because some federal fire officials view the state as a model for fire and life safety practices. The researchers collected data from in-person key informant interviews, direct observation of fire prevention events and relevant documents such as programmatic materials.

“Of the characteristics that emerged about the Delaware fire service’s approach to prevention, a sense of community was perhaps the strongest theme,” study co-author Andrea Gielen said. “We learned that partnerships with schools, the media and local business are integral to expanding the reach of fire safety and prevention programs throughout the state. This finding is of particular importance given the impact of the nation’s economic woes on fire service budgets.”

The report, published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, offers recommendations to states and localities looking to improve their fire and life safety activities.

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Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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