To curb the more than 200 annual deaths of children killed in car backup incidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be requiring all light vehicles to have "rear view visibility systems," according to a recent USA Today article. What had prompted the mandatory installation of these cameras, states the story, was "outcry" from consumer groups and families impacted by these tragedies.
While lauding the new requirement, burn survivor Pam Elliott is frustrated by the slow process and pushback against a similar--and proven--safety measure in homes, where children under 14 account for 15 percent of fire deaths, per NFPA's "Home Structure Fires" report. Moreover, children under five have historically faced a higher risk of fire death than the overall population. "What makes me angry is that the technology to prevent these deaths and injuries exist--they're called fire sprinklers," states an op-ed by Elliott, a member of the newly formed North Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition and Common Voices, a network of fire safety advocates. Elliott was burned in a house fire when she was five years old. "The technology exists."
Elliott also uses her op-ed to make a plea for fire prevention. "I only hope that comparing these statistics will somehow motivate fellow safety advocates and the fire service to take action," she states. "We need to stand united in the message that fire sprinklers save the lives of both citizens and firefighters."