Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

In 2012, fire deaths lowest since 2009

While homicides spiked in 2012 fire fatalities reached a record low.

In 2012, fire deaths lowest since 2009

Firefighters battle a fire.  ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )
Firefighters battle a fire. ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )

While homicides spiked in 2012 fire fatalities reached a record low.

There were 25 fire-related deaths in Philadelphia by year’s end –the lowest since 2009, the fire department announced today.

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers pointed to the department’s community risk reduction and outreach efforts in getting the fire death toll down.

“We’re on the mark,” Ayers said. “We’re doing the right thing focusing on the educational part of the fire equation other than just putting out fires.”

But for Ayers 25 fatalities is still too many, the goal, he said is zero.

A majority –13 of the fatalities occurred in properties that were without smoke alarms or had inoperable smoke alarms.

The fire department also responded to 276,939 emergency incidents –a .3 percent decrease from 2011. Notably of those emergency calls 45,419 were fire-related –a decrease of 5.3 percent and the remainder were emergency medical calls which were up by .8 percent.

With fewer fires these days, Ayers has been working hard to shift the department’s focus toward fire prevention and received a load of backlash from the firefighters’ union and City Council for a plan to rotate 293 senior firefighters by the end of the month.

The union slammed the plan calling it “dangerous,” and Ayers argued the rotations would broaden firefighters' experience by exposing them to busier locations and various neighborhoods. Ayers said the data released today speaks to his goals for the department.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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