Toledo, OH – It is a tragedy when anyone loses their home, lifelong memories, and are displaced due to a fire. It is a tragedy whenever someone is injured or loss of life occurs. A fire is a public safety issue that puts many people at risk; a family, neighbors, and the fire department.
Ward asserts, “Now is not the time to point fingers or put the blame on each other. Now is not the time for any candidate, whether it be a candidate in the mayoral or council race to do that. The reality is that whenever a fire occurs, regardless of whose house it is...or where it is; it has the potential to take a life. Rather than take shots at each other let's revisit the current fire prevention plans, and where it may be flawed...let's take immediate action to fix it.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association in 2007, there were an estimated 399,000 reported home structure fires and 2,865 associated civilian deaths in the United States. Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as two minutes to escape safely once the alarm sounds. Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms, and advance planning – a home fire escape plan that everyone in your family is familiar with and has practiced.
The Harris Interactive Survey conducted in 2004 for the National Fire Protection Association reports that only one-fifth to one-fourth of households (23%) have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan to ensure they could escape quickly and safely. One-third of American households who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!
Ward states, “Considering that a fire can spread through a home in as little as two minutes, every second counts to save your life. The Toledo Fire Department is trained extensively, but sometimes time is not on their side. Everyone must work together and do their part to ensure no loss of life. Material possessions may be able to be replaced, a life cannot. When the fire department arrives at a fire they must quickly determine the best method to put it out, and the quickest and safest method to rescue any victims. They need to know how much water is available to them from the closest hydrant. They need to know the water pressure in each hydrant. They need to know if there is anyone inside the burning home...this is a lot to survey in such a small two minute period.”
Ward asserts, “To assist the Toledo Fire Department and to help minimize loss of life and total loss of a home, we must revisit a few key elements to fire prevention and safety. If your house is on fire, you want the security of knowing that the fire hydrant is going to work. I recommend that the city of Toledo public utility workers, firefighters and the water division work in collaboration to check the hydrants yearly, and overgrown bushes around the hydrants be cut allowing a three-foot clearance around them. This maintenance check could be conducted in intervals, and residents notified of when the hydrants would be checked in their area. In addition, I propose that the city of Toledo consider painting the the fire hydrant tops and caps using a standardized color code. This would provide a way to identify how the hydrant should perform, and would easily identify problem areas in advance of a fire. I encourage the citizens of Toledo to develop a fire escape plan and check your smoke detectors to make sure they are operating properly. Lastly, please remember the two minute window and get you and your loved ones out immediately; it may save lives!”
Stephen Ward is the Toledo City Council Candidate who wants to: Regenerate our safety and security; Resuscitate our economy, schools, and neighborhoods; and Reclaim Toledo for all people. Ward is the candidate who believes in taking action to solve the problems and issues that exists, instead of playing the game of politics. He believes in taking a Servant Leadership approach to government, because government solely exists to serve its people.