MAYWOOD, Ill. – On Sunday, November 1, daylight savings time ends and we all move the clocks backward. This is also a great prompt to check the smoke detectors in your home, says Art Sanford, MD, burn surgeon at Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC) and associate professor, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
In 2013, more than 369,500 fires, 2,755 deaths, 12,200 injuries, and $6.8 billion in damages were reported by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). “Half of all home fire deaths happen between 11 pm and 7 am when people are sleeping and most vulnerable,” says Dr. Sanford. “One-quarter of fires starts in the bedroom, another quarter in the family room and 16 percent in the kitchen. Those are the areas to prioritize when installing smoke detectors.”
Dr. Sanford and the medical staff at the LUMC burn unit treat hundreds of children and adults yearly due to burn injuries. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and fire injuries. Smoking materials is the top cause of home fire deaths. Home heating devices are also a top cause of home fires, making fall and winter especially potentially dangerous.
"As you 'fall back,' checking your smoke detectors to make sure they are in working order is an easy step to take to safeguard your household," says Dr. Sanford. "Three out of five home fire deaths occur because no smoke detectors were present or the fire alarm did not operate. Tragically, older adults and the youngest children are more likely than any other age group to be killed in a home fire."
Loyola Medicine operates the largest burn center in Illinois and is a regional leader in burn care. Loyola delivers clinically integrated care for the most complex cases. Loyola’s outstanding success rates and multidisciplinary approach are recognized by the American College of Surgeons and American Burn Association.