The saying, “March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb,” holds true in Ohio, and although we are close to the end of winter, we are not out of the woods yet. That is why the Division of State Fire Marshal is reminding Ohioans to continue practicing the messages of its Safe & Sound campaign: safely using alternative heating sources and equipping their homes with working smoke alarms.
Fourteen Ohioans lost their lives in fires in February, bringing the total for 2016 to 30. Of those 30 lives lost, at least 18 were Ohioans over the age of 60. That is roughly 60% of all fire deaths so far this year, a number the Division notes is unusually high.
“Unfortunately, we often see that older Ohioans are at an increased risk of the hazards of fire,” said State Fire Marshal Larry L. Flowers. “Thus, it is imperative that we remember our elderly loved ones and neighbors. By working together, we can create a safer and stronger Ohio, free from the dangers of fire.”
The State Fire Marshal’s office suggests checking in on elderly or disabled family members, friends and neighbors. Offer to visit their homes on a regular basis, testing their smoke alarms at least once a month and conducting home safety inspections for them. Ohioans across the state should not hesitate to reach out to their local fire departments should they need any advice or assistance. The American Red Cross is an excellent organization for this as well, and can even help those in need obtain smoke alarms designed for the deaf or hard of hearing.