State fire marshal reports 15 fire deaths in December
January 2, 2010 · 10:11 PM
The State Fire Marshal stated in a release there were 15 fire fatalities in the month of December.
“The number of fire deaths reported this month is alarming. Fire prevention is essential and everyone should be thinking about what they can do to prevent these fires,” State Fire Marshal Mike Matlick said.
The fire marshal offers the following tips to prevent home fires:
• Smoke outside. Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and make sure cigarettes and ashes are fully extinguished.
• Never smoke in sleeping areas, while on medications, or in a home where medical oxygen is used.
• Use reduced ignition strength cigarettes, commonly referred to as fire-safe cigarettes.
Home heating safety
• Keep any heater at least three feet away from anything that might burn, i.e., curtains, walls, furniture, papers, etc.
• Keep children and pets away from heaters.
• Have chimneys and flues cleaned annually and inspected by a qualified person.
• Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food.
• Keep any flammable items away from your stovetop.
• Keep children and pets away from any cooking appliances.
Electrical equipment and appliances
• Electrical equipment and appliances should be maintained in top working condition.
• Discontinue use of dilapidated electrical appliances.
• Have modifications and repairs to electrical equipment preformed by a licensed electrician.
Smoke alarms, fire sprinklers and home escape lans
• Install smoke alarms in or near each sleeping area and on each level of your home. Read and follow the manufacturer’s installation, maintenance, and testing instructions.
• Consider installing fire sprinklers in your home. The use of quick response fire sprinklers creates a safer place to live and protects property owner’s investments as well as personal belongings and household members. Lower insurance rates may also be available.
• Develop and practice a home escape plan with every household member; ensure each person knows two ways out of each room. If a fire starts, immediately leave the home without stopping to gather belongings and get outside quickly. If a door is hot to the touch, do not open it and use the secondary escape route. Designate a meeting place outside and take attendance to ensure everyone is accounted for and send someone to the neighbors to call 911. Once you are outside, stay outside. If you have a guest staying at your home, take a few moments to familiarize them with your escape plan.
• Conduct a Home Fire Safety Inspection by using a fire prevention checklist.
“The loss of a life in a fire is almost always preventable.,” Matlick said. “I encourage every household to take fire prevention and preparedness seriously, reducing the risk of fire will take everyone’s help.”