Illinois State Fire Marshal encourages emergency preparedness - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Illinois State Fire Marshal encourages emergency preparedness

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SPRINGFIELD (WREX) -

With house fires being much more prevalent during winter, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal is encouraging residents to have a plan of action in case of emergency.

Heating and cooking are the two leading causes of home fires so the number of fires naturally goes up during the cold winter months. Last winter, over 8,000 fires were reported in Illinois between December and February. A total of 25,126 were reported between 2010 and 2012.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, heating equipment was involved in over 57,000 home structure fires in the United States, with 490 civilian deaths, 1,530 civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property loss.

The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) suggests practicing the following steps to ensure preparedness in case of emergency:

  • 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
  • Teach children important phone numbers such as 911 and other emergency and family member's phone numbers and addresses
  • Have first aid and emergency kits available and teach kids how to use them and where to find 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 to find

The OSFM also recommends taking the following steps to help prevent home fires:

  • 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 space heaters.
  • Check electrical cords often and replace cracked or damaged electrical or extension cords.
  • 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 (CO) gas could kill people and pets.
  • 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 on fire prevention, visit www.state.il.us/osfm or www.nfpa.org.

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