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Deaths from fires and burns are the fifth most common cause of unintentional injury and deaths in the United States (CDC 2005) and the third leading cause of fatal home injury (Runyan 2004). In nearly 75% of the cases where a fire fatality occurred there was either no fire alarm present or it malfunctioned.

NFPA Standard 101, Life Safety Code, has been adopted by jurisdictions throughout the United States. The Code requires smoke alarms and automat­ic suppression systems for apartment buildings higher than three stories or with more than 11 units. Responsibility for maintaining these systems is incumbent on the landlord or property owner.

Functioning fire alarms prevent or reduce fatalities. If you do not have a fire alarm you can get one at a hardware store. If you have a fire alarm make sure it works. If you have a fire secure the fire alarm so you or your attorney can determine if it functioned properly.

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