Fire safety campaign saving lives

Sixteen Ohioans lost their lives in fires in January, down from 26 in January 2015. The State Fire Marshal’s office is crediting this decrease to a somewhat mild winter as well as momentum from the office’s Safe & Sound fire safety campaign.

Since the campaign was launched last October, Ohio has had 19 fewer fire fatalities over the same time frame between October 2014 and January 2015. That’s a 32 percent decrease in total fatalities over a period of time which typically has the most deaths due to colder temperatures and the improper use of alternative heating sources.

While these figures are decreasing overall, older Ohioans continue to make up the majority of fire fatalities in the state. Of the 16 deaths reported last month, half were Ohioans over 60 years of age. To help reverse this trend, it is important to check on elderly and disabled neighbors, offer to test their smoke alarms, and make sure they have a fire escape plan in place.

“Our work is not done. Even one fire death is too many,” Marshal Larry Flowers said. “It is imperative that we work together to keep ourselves, our families, and our neighbors safe from the hazards of fire.”

The State Fire Marshal’s office, along with state and local partners, will continue to push its Safe & Sound messages: practicing the safe and proper use of alternative heating sources, knowing the importance of having working smoke alarms, and an escape plan with two ways out. Likewise, the office is reminding Ohioans that there are resources available to keep themselves and their families safe.

“If you need help obtaining or installing smoke alarms in your home, or if you would like a home fire safety inspection, call your local fire department,” Flowers said. “The American Red Cross also has a smoke alarm hotline, 844-207-4509, for those seeking help.”

One Safe & Sound partner, the Ohio Development Services Agency, also has a Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) which helps eligible Ohioans pay their home energy bill. Information on this program can be found by visiting the ODSA website.

For more information about the Safe & Sound campaign and additional fire safety tips, visit the State Fire Marshal’s website or twitter page.