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March 23, 2017

VT DFS Release - 2016 State Fire Marshal's Report

STATE OF VERMONT

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

DIVISION OF FIRE SAFETY

PRESS RELEASE

 

March 23, 2017

 

Contact: VT Division of Fire Safety, 1-800-640-2106

 

2016 Fire Marshal’s report highlights life/property loss and safety efforts

 

Berlin, VT – The Office of the State Fire Marshal has released its annual report highlighting the significant role the Vermont fire service plays in protecting the lives and property of Vermonters.  The report was compiled with data provided by fire departments throughout the state and contains information from over 45,000 recorded emergency incidents.

 

Vermont’s 232 fire departments responded to an average of 3,000 emergency calls per month in 2016.  Those calls were not only for working fires (3,200 reported for the year), but emergency medical services, conditions that could have led to a fire without intervention, false alarms, and other conditions.  Twelve Vermonters lost their lives in fires while three more died due to carbon monoxide exposure.

 

The report also provides a summary of fire loss*, fire causes (leading: failure to clean creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment chimneys), firefighter training programs (670 students taught), hazardous material response activities (128 responses), urban search and rescue efforts, and much more.  (*NOTE: Monetary losses from fires are difficult to estimate because in most cases departments aren’t required to determine detailed losses.  However, the report shows $20-million in damage from fires that required detailed state investigation in 2016, and insurance companies reported an estimated $40-million in damage from claims for 2015 – the latest yearly report).

 

“As this report shows, state and local firefighters work tirelessly to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and property losses in Vermont,” stated Commissioner of Public Safety Thomas D. Anderson.  “All Vermonters are safer because of the dedication, hard work and personal sacrifice of the Vermont firefighter community,” commented Anderson.

 

The report also highlights educational efforts by fire companies.  The Vermont Division of Fire Safety led or took part in 137 public educational programs and events in 2016.  These include efforts geared toward K-12 schoolchildren, senior citizens, workplace safety, and several others.

 

The Division of Fire Safety continues to ask all Vermonters to practice fire safety through a few simple activities – including installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in all living areas.  Despite the best efforts of state and local responders, fire departments still report responding to homes without these and other basic lifesaving tools.

 

“Together, we can help reduce the number of deaths, injuries and property losses in Vermont,” the report concludes.

 

The full 2016 State Fire Marshal’s report is available for download at http://firesafety.vermont.gov.  For more information or additional fire safety assistance visit http://firesafety.vermont.gov/buildingcode/resources.