Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department Chief Cumbey Gaines and Roger Toombs recently met with representatives from the State Fire Marshal’s Office to discuss ideas for reducing the number of fire fatalities in the State of Tennessee.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office has been closely tracking the accuracy of structure fires from January 2014 to November 2014 for the top 10 population-based fire departments in Tennessee. Murfreesboro, combined with the other top 9 population-based departments, protects approximately 40 percent of the population and reports 40 percent of the structure fires in the state historically.
“Our research revealed that Murfreesboro has helped lead the way by reducing fires, ensuring reporting accuracy, and decreasing the percentage of unknown causes of structure fires,” said Deputy Commissioner Gary West. “In fact, Murfreesboro reports the lowest percentage of unknown structure fire causes of the top 10 population-based departments,” he continued. On average, all 10 departments classified almost 40 percent of their structure fires as unknown; Murfreesboro only reported 23 percent of structure fires as unknown.
Murfreesboro also observed a 23.9 percent reduction in reported structure fires from 2011 to 2013. “This can partially be attributed to the fact that learning the cause of fires can help reduce life and property loss,” said West.
“We are very proud of the efforts that the men and women in this department perform daily to reduce the fire fatalities in our community,” said Chief Cumbey Gaines. Gaines credits the hard work and dedication of the department’s Fire Marshal’s Office as well as the shift personnel for the promotion of fire safety education, fire and arson investigation, and overall fire prevention efforts. “Our personnel educate several demographically diverse groups throughout the year through use of fire safety talks, Freddie the Fire Truck, Fire Prevention plays, and Fire Extinguisher Training,” he continued. The department has educated approximately 35,000 adults and children this year alone.
Gaines also credits programs such as the department’s Project SAFE “Smoke Alarms for Everyone” which has been beneficial in equipping several homes in the community with working smoke alarms. The State Fire Marshal’s Office reports that having working smoke alarms in the home cuts risks of fire death in half.
“We look forward to assisting the State Fire Marshal’s Office and other departments in the state in reducing the number of fire-related fatalities,” said Gaines. “Together, we can make a difference!”