Tennessee Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance Paula Flowers has created a Fire Mortality Prevention Task Force to help reduce the reported high rate of fire-related fatalities in the state.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, Tennessee ranks second in the U.S. in its fire death rate. In 2001, there were 122 fire deaths in Tennessee, with the state’s rate of fire deaths twice the national average. The NFPA, noting that nine of the top 10 fire death states are in the Southeast, has suggested that the factors include poverty, low education levels and the high incidence of smoking.
Flowers, who is also Tennessee’s Fire Marshal, has appointed a 22-member task force that includes veteran firefighters, codes officials, insurance professionals, and state officials, and has challenged the group to take a comprehensive approach to Tennessee’s fire death problem.
The Task Force is launching a major statewide public awareness campaign in October, which is being shaped by the group’s research.
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