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For Release: December 13, 2011 – Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – (405) 271-5601
Space Heaters are the Second Leading Cause of Fire Injury or Death
As winter approaches, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds Oklahomans to take precautions when using supplemental heat such as a space heater, wood stove or fireplace. According to data from the OSDH Injury Prevention Service, from 2004-2008 (the latest data available), 45 Oklahomans died and 12 were seriously injured in residential fires involving heating equipment. Nationally, in 2009, U.S. fire departments responded to more than 55,000 residential fires involving some sort of heating equipment, which resulted in nearly 500 deaths and 1,600 injuries and more than $1 billion in property damages.
Heating-related fires were the second leading cause of serious fire injury or death behind smoking. Nearly 10 percent of Oklahomans who died or were injured in heating fires were under the age of 5, and nearly 40 percent were over the age of 65. The most common way that home heating fires started was when objects such as furniture, clothes, paper, and bedding were too close to the heater and ignited.
Space heaters are the second leading cause of heating-related home fires behind fireplaces and chimneys, but account for 80 percent of heating-related home fire deaths. The leading factor in home-heating fires was a failure to clean equipment, but the leading factor in home-heating fire deaths was a heater placed too close to combustibles.
Below are a few winter safety precautions from the OSDH:
Protect your home:
Space heater safety:
For more information on preventing fire and burn injuries, visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health at http://ips.health.ok.gov, the National Fire Protection Association at www.nfpa.org/winter, or the U.S. Fire Administration at www.usfa.dhs.gov/winter.
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