Fire Prevention 52: Death and Taxes

By Kathy Komatz, National Structural Fire Training Specialist
1040 tax form and a pencil

Prepare for Fire Safety

"Nothing is certain except death and taxes." As one of the most enduring quotations from the inventor, politician, writer, and founding father, Benjamin Franklin, we increasingly hear and feel these words as the end of tax season draws to a close.

To insure ourselves against any harsh penalties, the individual taxpayer spends an average of $258 for tax preparation. Taxpayers and businesses spend 6.1 billion hours a year collecting data, from tracking every little receipt to filling out tax forms.

Tax professionals say that being tax-savvy throughout the year can save you a great deal of money and time, and provides a great opportunity to get your financial house in order. Fire safety professionals have a similar message.

You can spend a couple of minutes every week to prepare your home and workplace to be fire safe, and you can do it for free! What do you get for your effort? You get the opportunity to protect people and property. If we spent as much time preparing for our safety as we do for our taxes, our day-to-day lives would be considerably safer.

Just like preparing your bank account for tax season, prepare your home or workplace to be fire-safe by looking for and removing potential fire hazards. Now that is a fantastic return on investment!

So which would you rather deal with this week, death or taxes?

Fire Info for You

Employees
Use this home fire inspection checklist to identify fire hazards in your home. Involve your kids too!

Park Structural Fire Coordinators
The Branch of Structural Fire has created the equivalent of a 1040-EZ form for filling out your annual fire and life safety inspections. Park structural fire coordinators should schedule an inspection, fill out the form, and then upload the information onto our website. These inspections are required by departmental and agency policy and public law.

Take Action

This tax week, take a moment and tell yourself, "I will search as hard for fire hazards as I do for tax deductions," and then make it so.

NPS Fire Facts

Franklin Court, at Independence National Historic Park, is the site of the handsome brick home of Benjamin Franklin. He lived there while serving in the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention; Franklin died at the home in 1790. Although the original home was torn down in 1810, a minimal "ghost structure" building stands in its place. The building renovation began in June 2011 and will include a new fire detection and suppression system. The renovation is currently facing delays. Read more about the challenges of getting Benjamin Franklin Museum reopened.