Illinois state fire marshal reminds residents of the importance of
are more prevalent during winter season
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[February 19, 2013]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Office of the
Illinois State Fire Marshal encourages residents to consider fire
preparedness as a priority during the months of winter by following
basic steps to keep families safe. The unfortunate reality is that
winter is the leading time of year for home fires in the United
States, with heating and cooking representing the two leading causes
of home fires.
"We want to make sure we're doing all we can to minimize any
possibility of a tragedy during this season," said Larry Matkaitis,
state fire marshal. "Our goal is to educate the public on
preventative measures that are simple and easy to follow, such as
always having working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors."
In Illinois last winter more than 8,000 fires were reported between
the months of December and February. An alarming number of 25,126
fires were reported between 2010 and 2012. In the most recent report
from the National Fire Protection Agency, heating equipment was
involved in an estimated 57,100 reported U.S. home structure fires,
with 490 civilian deaths, 1,530 civilian injuries and $1.1 billion
in direct property loss.
OSFM also emphasizes the importance of practicing the following
steps in case of a fire and other emergencies:
Have a fire escape
plan in place in case of a fire emergency and discuss it with
family members. Include your pets in your escape plan. Practice
the plan often.
important phone numbers such as 911 and other emergency and
family members' phone numbers and addresses.
Have first-aid and
emergency kits available. Teach kids where to find them and how
to use them when necessary.
If a fire occurs
at home, leave immediately, go to your meeting place, stay out
and then call 911.
Make sure windows
and doors can opened from the inside. Keep smoke alarms within
15 feet of every bedroom. Check smoke alarms monthly.
- Have flashlights and other emergency supplies in places easy
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Stay in the
kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you
leave the kitchen for even a short period, turn off the stove.
Space heaters need
space. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from
cords often, and replace cracked or damaged electrical or
Never use your
oven or stovetop to heat your home. They are not designed for
this purpose and can be a fire hazard. In addition, carbon
monoxide gas could kill people and pets.
As an alternative,
select the new "flameless" candles that operate by battery.
Do not leave
regular candles unattended, and do not place them near curtains
or children's bedrooms
If you smoke, use
only fire-safe cigarettes and smoke outside.
For more information about fire prevention, visit
Office of the State Fire
received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]