Liberty Mutual and Holly Robinson Peete Team Up to Encourage Families to Be Fire Smart this October

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Moms can visit http://www.BeFireSmart.com to learn the latest fire safety tips

Helping people live safer, more secure lives

Moms wear many hats: homework helper, meal planner, chauffeur and family manager. But often overlooked is the crucial role a mom plays in keeping kids safe from household dangers such as fire hazards. No one knows this better than actress Holly Robinson Peete, a mother of four who is not only engaged in her own children's lives, but with kids across the country through her foundation, which is dedicated to providing physical and emotional support to children and their families.

Today, moms are increasingly turning to the Web for tips on keeping their family safe, with more than 32 million moms online, according to a 2008 eMarketer report. This October, Fire Prevention Month, Ms. Peete is partnering with Liberty Mutual Insurance to educate and encourage parents, especially moms, to pay special attention to fire prevention safety within the home through videos and tips on http://www.BeFireSmart.com, an online resource where moms and kids can learn together.

''The internet is no longer a tool that moms use after the kids go to bed,'' added Ms. Peete. "It's a part of our daily routine that allows us to stay connected, get organized and consume information that will help us protect our families.''

According to a recent Liberty Mutual poll, 84 percent of parents admitted they do not frequently discuss fire safety with their children. To facilitate the discussion Liberty Mutual created http://www.BeFireSmart.com a fun, interactive site designed for parents, children and teachers.

The site provides information on the proper use of smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, tips to prevent fires from sources such as candles and clothes dryers as well as helpful hints on mapping out fire escape plans (27 percent of Americans admit they do not have a fire escape plan). The site also offers fast, fun and interactive games in the children's section as well as a coloring book and story that they can download - which teaches kids never to hide from a firefighter during a fire. Additionally the site offers classroom lesson plans for teachers.

''My four children are my world, so I do everything I can to ensure their safety,'' said Ms. Peete. ''This includes making sure that my home is free of fire hazards, and talking to them often about fire safety. It's not something you do once and check off your to do list, it's something that should be revisited often.''

The Shocking Truth About Home Fires

Home fires are among the most preventable type of fire. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more Americans die in home fires each year than all natural disasters combined. In 2007, 399,000 home fires were reported - resulting in close to 3,000 deaths, 13,600 injuries and $7.4 billion in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

A recent Liberty Mutual/International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Safety Census found that home fires top the list of safety concerns among American adults; yet despite this, many are dangerously negligent when it comes to taking fire precautions and are largely uninformed about what to do if a fire occurs.

Among the survey findings:

  • 70 percent of parents reported their children are less than fully prepared to escape and survive a fire.
  • Only 6 percent of those surveyed know that having working smoke alarms in the home can more than double their chances of surviving a fire.
  • On 3 in 10 adults (30 percent) would evacuate their house first before calling the fire department.
  • 85 percent of American adults know that most home fires start in the kitchen; yet 26 percent say they have left food cooking on the stovetop unattended and, disturbingly, 16 percent have disabled their smoke alarms while cooking.

What's Your Plan?
According to the NFPA, 80 percent of fire deaths begin in the home. Parent can dramatically decrease that number by learning how to prevent a home fire and ensuring everyone in the family knows what to do, should a fire break out. Liberty Mutual recommends these five fire prevention tips for moms:

  • Talk to your children about fire hazards and home fire safety. Children ages 5 and under are twice as likely to die in a home fire, yet 84 percent of parents surveyed by Liberty Mutual say they don't frequently discuss fire safety with their children.
  • Map out an escape plan, and practice it often - day and night, since escaping in the darkness of night is different from doing so in the light of day. More than 1 in 4 surveyed (27 percent) by Liberty Mutual say they do not have a fire escape plan.
  • Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home or apartment. Working smoke alarms more than double your chance of surviving a home fire. Check the batteries monthly, and change them at least once a year. Smoke alarms older than 10 years should be replaced.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher for your home. Mount it and learn how to use it - revisit the instructions every six months. Twenty percent of Americans surveyed by Liberty Mutual say they do not own a fire extinguisher.
  • Visit http://www.BeFireSmart.com for helpful tips and enjoyable lessons and games for the kids.

''We celebrate moms and the role they often play as household safety leader,'' says Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual senior vice president, Consumer Marketing. "We hope that with the help of Holly Robinson Peete and the interactive activities and resources available at http://www.BeFireSmart.com, we will help make their jobs easier by providing them with the tools their families need to be safe and avoid fire tragedies in their home."

''Where's the Fire?TM'' Exhibit and Video

To help children get comfortable about learning and talking about fire, Liberty Mutual also created a video based on its popular "Where's the Fire?" attraction at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida, the largest fire safety exhibit in the United States. Using "Where's the Fire?" as a backdrop, the energetic video provides families with visual guidance on fire safet in the home.

Parent and children are invited to view the video online at http://www.BeFireSmart.com. Individuals who would like to secure a person copy for their home or classroom are encouraged to contact a local Liberty Mutual office.

About Liberty Mutual Group
"Helping people live safer, more secure lives" since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group is a diversified global insurer and sixth-largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2007 direct written premium. Liberty Mutual Group ranks 94th on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations, based on 2007 revenue. The company has over 41,000 employees located in more than 900 offices throughout the world.

The eighth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance. The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 10,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.

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Glenn Greenberg
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