even mice and squirrels, can ignite them.
Lastly, there is the bedsmokers’ club. [Laughter.] The smoker who believes that if he should fall asleep, the tickle of the flame will wake him up before it is too late does not realize that smoldering textiles give off the lethal array of combustible gases that are usually the cause of death of people who smoke in bed.
All of these people who do these things just this one time have helped to initiate something over 350,000 dwelling fires a year with damages exceeding $100,000,000. We must remember that children are not expected to have judgment, adults are; and in teaching our children, this concept must always be remembered.
Our fire departments all over the country will cooperate in planning and conducting inspections of our homes for fire hazards and will help the communities teach and demonstrate safe conditions and practices in the home, and I hope at this conference that there will be action taken and plans made to outline certain specific programs that the homemaker and the housewife can take part in.
I have put a lot of emphasis on children. Why? Let me remind you of a few figures that most of you already know. Accidents take a yearly toll of almost 20,000 boys and girls under 20, and most of these accidents are preventable. The high proportion of these fatal accidents to children take place in the home, and 20,000 children in one year died of burns that could be traced back to adult carelessness. Last year in January over 7,000 children were known by State agencies to be crippled because of burns.
A child imitates and observes and performs as his parents, and many times a chance a parent takes may be inconsequential as far as the parent is concerned, but to the young imitator it may be fatal.
In closing, let us remember that, as parents and homemakers, our responsibility lies in doing for our children what we should be doing for ourselves, protecting the child, restraining the child, conditioning the child by training, and developing an awareness. Not being able to eliminate all hazardous situations, a child should be taught to recognize a danger and meet it, face bravely situations that cannot be avoided, and encouraged to call for help when assistance is needed.
Before I sit down, I want to remind the audience that since I began talking to you 18 more American homes have burned. Thank you. [Applause.]
Chairman Fleming. I was right, Mrs. Lord, when I said that our deliberations up to now had lacked the feminine touch. I think our Conference results will be much more fruitful for your having been here.
Now for the last of our committee reports. It almost goes without saying that we shall fail in our objectives unless we have the support of the people. Fire prevention is not just something for fire departments or city officials or State and Federal officials to do something about. Every citizen has his part to play.