Fire report details 2017 fatalities, injuries across Alaska
As fire deaths are on the rise in Alaska, so are the efforts to prevent them, according to a report released by the Division of Fire and Life Safety.
On Tuesday, the division released those statistics for 2017. The information was gathered from 170 participating fire departments throughout the state.
According to the data, there were 19 deaths last year, which is up 6 percent. Six of those 19 were children younger than 10.
Last fall, five young girls were killed from smoke inhalation during a fire that happened in the Butte. Investigators ruled that fire accidental and said cooking was the cause.
According to the division, every eight minutes an Alaska fire department responded to a call. Every 11 hours was a call about a residential fire and every two hours, they responded to a false call.
Attended fires were up 16 percent, the report said, but grass brush and wildland incidents down seven of every 10 structure fires were residential. Property loss was listed at over $95 million.
According to the report, juveniles were responsible for nearly a quarter of all fires intentionally set last year.
The division says more education is needed to be done on the risks matches, lighters and other open flames pose to families.
"We are watching statistics closely on fire deaths and injuries because the lives of Alaskans matter," said David Tyler, Alaska Fire Marshal. "What we are seeing are deaths and injuries that are preventable and the trends give us important clues to how we can make Alaska safer."
The division says the best way to prevent a fire is making sure your building is safe with working smoke detectors and a thorough plan.
"Plan reviews are necessary for any construction, repair, remodel, addition, or change of occupancy in any commercial structure in order to ensure safety and compliance with state law," the report said.
There were no firefighter deaths, however, there were 47 reported injuries -- 50 percent of them were sprains and strains; another 27 percent were from smoke inhalation, according to the report.
To read the full report, click here.