Minnesota Schools Have Drastically Less Fires
Some of the safest schools in the county are right here in Minnesota. According to a report by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division, the state average of 43 school fires is 47% lower than the national average.
The report also shows that since the DPS-SFMD School Inspection Program began in 1990:
- The annual average number of school fires in Minnesota has dropped from 90 (1990-1994) to 41 (2010-2014).
- From 2009-2013, Minnesota’s school fire loss has decreased by just over 70 percent to $3,201 per fire, while the national average has increased 50 percent to $17,241 per fire. Minnesota’s average loss per school fire is about 81 percent lower than the national average.
“School is like a second home to most children, and we’re proud that they care about fire safety,” State Fire Marshal Bruce West said in a press release. “Our inspectors work hard with local officials so they understand how to prevent fires in their schools. These numbers show that our partnership is working to reduce these incidents around the state.”
Besides insufficient exits, unprotected corridors and stairways were the most significant and costly corrections school officials had to make when DPS-SFMD inspectors first started visiting schools. The report noted that as the inspection program has progressed, less serious issues were more common such as improper use of extension cords and other routine maintenance issues that are relatively easy and inexpensive to fix.
Almost 60 percent of Minnesota school fires happen in middle schools and high schools where more hazardous operations such as science experiments, shops or cooking classes were offered.
However, the department found that 33 percent of the fires originated in bathrooms or locker rooms.
Parents should also talk to their children about the dangers and power of fire, and teach them safe behaviors.
- Set a good example by installing and maintaining smoke alarms.
- Take responsibility for fire safety by pointing out fire safety and fire prevention rules and discussing the dangers of fire.
- Control access to fire by keeping all ignition devices out of reach of children. Teach them to notify an adult if they find things like matches or lighters.
- Check in trashcans, under beds and in closets for burned matches or other evidence your child is misusing fire. If you find evidence, use it as a teaching opportunity.
The national average of annual school fires is 81.