Coroners report focuses on factors behind child fire deaths

NANAIMO – Coroners report could help focus education and safety programs to prevent deaths and injuries among children by fire in B.C.

A B.C. Coroners Service report on child deaths by fire could lead to new programs at Nanaimo Fire Rescue.

The report compiled by the B.C. Coroners Service Child Death Review panel that was released Tuesday looked at 34 child deaths that happened in 22 fires across the province between 2005 and 2014.

Some of the deaths during that periods occurred in the Nanaimo region included one on Georgia Avenue in 2008, two on the Nanoose First Nation reserve in 2012 and one on Albert Street in 2014.

The panel found that children in vulnerable or underprivileged families were most at risk due to substandard or overcrowded housing, lack of adult supervision and smoking in the home.

Young children are also the likeliest to set fires inside homes.

Fire accounts for about five per cent of accidental deaths among children in B.C. Car accidents, poisonings, drownings and falls all claim more children’s lives annually.

Craig Richardson, Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief, said data in the report is useful for planning future training and education programs focused on preventing child deaths and injuries by fire.

“We use reports like this alongside our local data analysis to help us identify where to dedicate prevention resources in Nanaimo,” Richardson said in an e-mail to the News Bulletin. “While broader prevention and public education campaigns are certainly effective and have worked for many years, we know there are specific areas we can impact with greater focus.  We are currently working through our risk assessment and will be introducing some programs specific to the higher risks and trends.”

Nanaimo News Bulletin