Majority Minority population jurisdictions continue to lose citizens to fire more often in Maryland. The Maryland State Fire Prevention Commission and the State Fire Marshal continue to see trends that are disturbing as they search for ways to reduce fire deaths in Maryland. Prince George’s County, Maryland and Baltimore City, Maryland lead the State in fire deaths and this should cause citizens to pause and find out how they can get involved in reversing this trend. Fires and fire deaths can be prevented. One of the key factors in addressing this problem is gathering and uncovering data that can help fire officials and citizens to understand the factors that seem to distinguish minority communities from the general population in Maryland. This fire data is not always consistently collected and studied in minority communities like they are in majority jurisdictions. Questions linger and remain unanswered as to why minorities die in preventable fire events at a higher rate.
What questions need to be considered? Is it because Prince George’s County spends the least amount of money on its fire service than do other comparable jurisdictions in Maryland and surrounding jurisdictions? Is it because response times are above the accepted standards in Prince George’s County? If time is an important factor in survivability in fire situations is there enough attention being paid to this one factor? Are there multiple factors that exist in minority communities that do not exist in most jurisdictions? Are there more fires in minority communities? Why are there more fires? It is clear that since fires and thus fire deaths can be prevented it is important that the citizens focus on the steps their community can take to reduce this persistent trend in their community. Government obviously is only one resource that is needed to address the fire deaths in Prince George’s County and Baltimore City. The community can educate government officials on what actions are needed to assist the citizenry in dealing with this preventable emergency and disaster and its devastating effects.
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