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FOR RELEASE: October 4, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

"Cover the Bases and Strike Out Fire"

How do you make learning about fire safety fun for kids of all ages? Add a little baseball!

The Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition has teamed up with the nonprofit NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) to “Cover the Bases and Strike Out Fire” during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13, 2001. NFPA's new public safety campaign brings baseball and fire safety together to teach children and their families simple steps they can take to strike out the risk of home fires.

Cooking, heating and electrical fires are among the nation's leading causes of home fires, accounting for an annual average of nearly 50 percent of home fires and almost one-third of associated fire deaths. This year's Fire Prevention Week campaign teaches children and their families about these common fire hazards, and how to “strike them out” in their own homes. Parents and kids are encouraged to complete a home fire safety inspection together, putting the campaign's messages into practice. Home fire safety checklists, which can help families conduct a thorough inspection, are available from SAFE KIDS, a program of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, and on the official Fire Prevention Week Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org.

“People think they're safer from fire than they really are, particularly at home. As a result, they often lack basic information about how to prevent them,” said Martha Collar, coalition coordinator. “By learning where home fire dangers exist and taking some simple precautions, Oklahoma residents can greatly reduce their risk.”

SAFE KIDS and NFPA offer the following fire safety tips to consider this week:

  • Practice a home fire escape drill regularly -- at least twice a year.
  • Know two ways out of each room.
  • Have an outdoor location in front of the home where everyone will meet upon exiting.
  • Never re-enter a burning building for any reason.
  • Have a working smoke alarm -- and change the battery at least once a year -- to ensure early warning. Change the batteries at the same time every year, for example, in the fall when clocks are moved back one hour.
  • Don't overload outlets.
  • Service home heating units annually.
  • Never leave lighters and matches within reach of children.

NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week since 1922. Over a three-year period, NFPA documented 74 lives saved as a direct result of their previous FPW campaign, “Fire Drills: The Great Escape.”

Each year, National Fire Prevention Week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed more than 17,400 buildings.

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