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FOR RELEASE: October 10, 2002
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
405/271-5601

Cool Weather Signals Start of House Fire Season

The first cool snap of fall signals not only the approaching holidays, jack-o-lanterns and other signs of the season, but also an increase in the number of house fires.

During October, National Fire Prevention Month, the Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition would like to remind Oklahomans how to prevent these fires and how to stay safe in the event of a fire.

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.

“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, coordinator of SAFE KIDS, a program of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “By learning where home fire dangers exist and taking some simple precautions, Oklahoma residents can greatly reduce their risk.”

SAFE KIDS offers the following fire safety tips to consider this month:

  • 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.
  • If your smoke alarm is more than 10 years old, replace it. They are not made to last forever; their sensors can wear out. A $10 investment can save lives and property.
  • Don’t overload outlets.
  • Service home heating units annually.
  • Never leave lighters and matches within reach of children.

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