FEMA Aiding Fire Safety Campaign in Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rico Fire Department and the National Commission on Children and Disasters are also part of the new public awareness campaign.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Puerto Rico Fire Department, and the National Commission on Children and Disasters announced a new public awareness campaign to help families in Puerto Rico prevent home fires.

FEMA's U.S. Fire Administration recently released a report on the risks fires pose to children, showing an increasing overall risk and that young children are most vulnerable. The report says 52 percent of all children dying in fires in 2007 were children under age four, which represents a slight increase from a 2004 study.

"Fires are one of the most common emergencies but are preventable. FEMA encourages local residents and families to follow simple steps to avoid fires, such as doing fire drills at home and hav[ing] a family emergency plan to help save lives and property," said Alejandro De La Campa, FEMA's Region II Caribbean Area Division Director.

"Curiosity in children can cause fires. This is why, as parents, we have the responsibility to look after our children's safety by keeping them away from fire risks. Do not allow them to play with candles, lighters, matches, or pyrotechnic items. Also, keep them away from places with fire, such as grills, stoves, etc. Do not leave then by themselves or alone with other minors at home. Although it is FEMA and the PR Fire Department responsibility of warning about these risks and statistics regarding children's deaths, it is also the responsibility of every parent or guardian of minors to look after their safety and keep a home free of fire risks", said Carmen Rodríguez, the Puerto Rico Fire Department's chief.

FEMA's online tools and tips for children's fire safety awareness are available at http://www.ready.gov/kidsfiresafety.

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