Frequently Asked Questions

Why have a fire safety program for young children?

Tragically, children age five and under are twice as likely to die in fires as are older children and adults. Statistics show that for children ages 1-4, fires and burns are the leading cause of unintentional injury.

• From 2009 to 2018, there were 34,624 residential fire deaths in United States and of those deaths, 3,170 were children ages 14 and under.

• On average a child under age 14 dies in a residential fire every day.

• Fire is the sixth leading cause of unintentional death for children under age 19.


Why is the problem so pronounced with younger children?

Many young children die in fires because they instinctively try to hide from smoke and flames.  Fear often causes children to hide in a closet or under a bed in the mistaken belief that they are safe from the fire. Fear also causes many children to escape to safety without telling anyone about the fire. They may fear blame, so they do not alert an adult to the fire. Other children left in the home often die or are injured.


What is the goal of Operation EDITH?

Operation EDITH seeks to educate the parents of young children about the importance of talking about what children should do if there is a fire. The cornerstone of the project is an Exit Drill In The Home, thus the name EDITH. Parents will be urged to practice an Exit Drill at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, October 6th, when participating local fire stations sound their sirens.  If families are located in areas where no siren is heard, they are still urged to practice their Exit Drill.


How does the project work?

Independent insurance agency personnel across the state will deliver packets of educational materials to schools throughout the community.  These materials will include coloring books and stickers for the children and informational brochures on fire safety for parents. The brochures that parents will receive stress the importance of practicing an Exit Drill In The Home with young children. Parents will be urged to:

1. Install and regularly check smoke detectors on every level of the home.

2. Prepare a home exit plan which includes two exits from every room, especially bedrooms, and designate a family meeting spot.

3. Practice the home Exit Drill as a family on Wednesday, October 6th at 6:00 PM, and then twice each year.

Posters may also be displayed in local independent agencies, community businesses and at community events to spread Operation EDITH’s important message.

In addition, agents, in conjunction with local Fire and Rescue personnel, may schedule sessions in area schools (Grades K-3rd) to teach children three important fire safety tips with activities to illustrate: 

1. What a Smoke Detector Sounds Like

2. What to do when the detector sounds - Get Low and Go!

3. Go to a Family Meeting Spot Outside the Home

The Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina are pleased to be working with and supported by the NC Department of Insurance, State Fire Marshal Mike Causey and local fire and rescue providers.