State Fire Marshal: Ohio fire deaths hit 27-year low

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Ohio had fewer fire deaths in 2013 than in any single year over the past 27 years, State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers said.

The number dropped for the third consecutive year, continuing a trend that fire officials and first responders hope to build upon.

During 2013, 103 fire-related fatalities were recorded by the Division of State Fire Marshal through reports from Ohio's fire departments, the State Fire Marshal's Fire & Explosion Investigation Bureau and the media. The previous low of 106 fire-related fatalities occurred in 2012.

There were 128 fire-related fatalities in 2011 and 155 in 2010.

Flowers attributed the reduction in fatalities to fire safety education programs, innovative training for firefighters at the Ohio Fire Academy and other training schools across the state and the efforts of legislators and state officials. The state budget passed in June by the Ohio General Assembly and signed by Gov. John Kasich contained many new provisions to help first responders safeguard lives and property.

Flowers said he is still concerned the message about working smoke alarms hasn't reached everyone. Many of Ohio's fire-related fatalities occurred in homes with no confirmed working smoke alarms.

"Smoke alarms save lives," Flowers said. "The efforts of Ohio's first responders, educators, journalists and citizens are paying off, but we have to keep up the push to let people know that working smoke alarms and an escape plan with at least two ways out will reduce fire deaths."

The Division of State Fire Marshal recommends working smoke alarms on every level of the home and inside each sleeping area. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and alkaline batteries should be replaced twice a year.

Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years or according to the manufacturer's specifications. In addition to smoke alarms, families should have and practice a home fire escape plan with multiple exit routes and should establish a safe meeting place outside the home.

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