Five people were killed in fires in October, bringing the yearly total to 102.

This represents an 11% increase in fire fatalities from this time last year. Due to this increase, State Fire Marshal Larry L. Flowers is asking all Ohioans to commit to fire safety and prevention in their homes.

“Many fires can be prevented. Although it will be warmer this week, cold temperatures will be arriving soon, and now is the time to make sure you have no heating fire hazards in your home,” Marshal Flowers said. “Checking for these hazards can reduce your risk of a fire.”

The Safe & Sound public awareness campaign was kicked off in early October with a goal to reverse the trend of fire deaths during the winter months. Home heating fires are most likely to happen during this time of the year. With some preparation, you can ensure your family is safe from the threat of fire.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

· Space heaters should be certified to the latest safety standards.

· Only use the correct fuel to refill cooled kerosene heaters outdoors.

· Do not overload electrical outlets or extension cords.

· Plug space heaters directly into the wall.

· Keep flammable objects at least three feet from any heat source.

· Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home.

· Inspect chimneys and furnaces once a year.

· Turn heaters off when you leave a room.

· Install a smoke alarm on each level of the home, inside and outside of each bedroom.

· Have a fire escape plan with two ways out.

Other state agencies have joined the Department of Commerce and State Fire Marshal’s office to fight this trend. The Ohio Departments of Administrative Services, Aging, Agriculture, Public Safety, Development Services Agency and the Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing are taking an active role in Safe & Sound. The American Red Cross is also assisting with the campaign.

Staff report