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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

Save lives through prevention education

How many times have you seen someone under-fuse or overload an electrical circuit in their home?

Editor's note: With fire officials determining that the wrong fuse sparked a fire that killed six children in New York, Editorial Advisor Adam K. Thiel explains how the findings underscore the importance of teaching prevention to save lives.

This fire is yet another incident underscoring the importance of fire prevention and life safety education.

Could this tragic accident have been prevented somewhere along the way?

We may never know, but I have to believe that if the fault chain ended with someone installing a properly-sized fuse, these six children would be alive today.

How many times have you seen someone under-fuse or overload an electrical circuit in their home?

How often have you gone into a house and seen extension cords running all over the place, electrical outlets with expansion plugs on top of expansion plugs, or daisy-chained powerstrips leading to televisions, computers, and appliances?

Despite environmental concerns, people are bringing more and more power-hungry electrical devices into their homes. This condition can stress the electrical systems in buildings beyond their design limits, causing increased fire risk.

Beyond proper enforcement of building and fire codes in both new and existing structures, we must provide community members with a better understanding of how seemingly innocuous behaviors can lead to horrible outcomes.

Whose responsibility is it to educate them? Among is our responsibility.

About the author

With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel FireRescue1's editorial advisor is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.

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