West Virginia Needs More Fire Safety Education, Report Says

West Virginia suffers from one of the nation’s worst fire-related death rates. That has officials calling for greater public education efforts.

But the state Fire Commission has become too short-staffed to provide this service.

A Monday report alerted legislators to the situation.

The latest figures in the report show West Virginia ranked fourth nationally for civilian fire-related deaths in 2008. It led all other states for such deaths in 2006.

The Fire Commission once had four positions assigned to public education. But the legislative report found that those slots have been transferred to homeland security efforts.

Public education was a concern listed in audits released in 2000 and 2004. Monday’s report found the commission has improved in other areas. Those include coordinating with local fire departments and obtaining funding grants.