• 64°

Fire deaths increase across Ohio

The state of Ohio has experienced an increase in house fire fatalities.

This unpleasant upsurge in fire deaths is being contributed to the lack of or non-functioning smoke detectors, according to the Division of State Fire Marshal Shane Cartmell.

Fire marshal records indicated that in 2005, 89 percent of all fire-related deaths in Ohio resulted from either no smoke detectors present or non-functioning alarms.

This year has not been much better, with 83 percent deaths a result of poor safety maintenance.

The majority of these deaths could have been prevented, if there were proper safety fixtures within the houses, fire officials said.

The continuously high percentage of preventable deaths has caused many fire departments to become frustrated, especially since the cost of a fire detector is as low as $5, Cartmell said.

From Jan. 1 through July 27, there have been 76 fire deaths in Ohio, 22 of which were juveniles.

Meanwhile, there were only 101 deaths total last year, as documented in the Fire Marshal records.

These statistics are even more staggering when compared to the national average of 4,000 residential fire deaths, as listed on the U.S. Fire Administration’s Web site — www.usfa.dhs.gov.

Cartmell stresses the importance of fire safety.

“(Having) one smoke detector doubles your chance of safety should there be a home fire,” he said. “You increase your chances exponentially by having more fire detectors.”

Other important facts, as recommended by the USFA, are: install a smoke detector on each level of your home and inside each bedroom; know two or three ways to escape your home should a fire occur; and replace your smoke detectors every ten years.

Also, Cartmell urges everyone to change his or her smoke detector batteries at least twice a year. He believes that batteries and failure to maintain proper care of smoke detectors are probably the main culprits of fire fatalities.

For more information on fire safety and smoke detectors, contact the local fire department or visit www.usfa.dhs.gov.