Dramatic Increase in Indiana Fire Deaths

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June 6, 2013 — Indiana’s Department of Homeland Security says Indiana home fires have claimed 53 lives this year due to either non-working or absent smoke alarms. IDHS says that figure compares to 46 Indiana fire deaths for all of 2012.

IDHS is sharing the advice of State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson, who reminds Hoosiers that, “it is not only crucial, it is the law (IC 22-11-18-3.5) to have a working smoke alarm in every home.”

Together, they say working smoke alarms can double the chances of surviving a residence fire, and Fire Marshal Greeson insists Hoosiers have working smoke alarms in their homes. “Smoke alarms save lives, and a working smoke alarm is the best insurance against becoming a casualty in a house fire. Firefighters too often find that in fatal fires, a home had smoke alarms but their batteries had been removed or they were dead.”

Indiana Department of Homeland Security says most home-fire casualties occur at night when people are sleeping. “The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can induce a deep sleep, decreasing the chances of survival. Here is what some experts recommend regarding smoke alarms:

• Smoke alarms should be installed in every sleeping room, outside of every sleeping area and on each level of the home. Make sure that everyone can hear the alarm and knows what it sounds like.
• Smoke alarms need to be maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Test the alarms monthly and replace batteries at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery immediately.
• The smoke alarms themselves should be replaced every 10 years.
• For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home – when one sounds, they all sound.
• Have a fire escape plan and practice it with your children.
• When the smoke alarm sounds, exit the home at once and meet at a set location.
• Call 911
• Once outside, stay outside. Do NOT return for anything.”

For more fire safety information, IDHS invites people to visit www.getprepared.in.gov.


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