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FOR RELEASE: October 7, 2002
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
405/271-5601

State Health Officials Encourage “Team Up for Fire Safety”

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6-12, 2002, and state health officials are encouraging Oklahomans to “Team Up for Fire Safety” to make sure their homes are fire-safe by installing and testing smoke alarms and developing and practicing a home escape plan.

Officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health said nearly 100 Oklahomans die each year in house fires.

In only 3 1/2 minutes, the heat from a house fire can reach over 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature can reach over 300 degrees in rooms that are not even on fire; this is hot enough to melt plastic and kill the people in those rooms.

It is critical to have a functioning smoke alarm, especially if a fire starts at night when the residents are asleep. Fire produces gases and fumes that can make persons sleepy, weak, and confused. They won’t be able to smell the fumes, but a smoke alarm will alert them if there is a fire.

Unlike fires in the movies, the smoke from a house fire can be so thick that the house would be completely dark in 4 minutes, even with all the lights on.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that only one-fourth of U.S. families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. The following tips can help you plan and practice an effective home escape plan.

  • Draw a floor plan of the home with two ways out of every room.
  • Designate a meeting place outside the home where everyone can meet.
  • Designate a person to assist any infants or persons with mobility limitations to get out of the house.
  • Test all smoke alarms in the home and make sure they are functioning.
  • Make sure all routes out of the home are clear of obstacles.
  • Practice the escape plan with all members of your family at least twice a year.

For more information about residential fire prevention, contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Injury Prevention Service at 405/271-3430.

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