Thirty-eight lives have been lost to fire so far this year in Louisiana.
The State Fire Marshal's Office says that number is higher than previous years. At this time last year, a total of 34 fire deaths had been reported.
KATC has obtained the number of fire related death for parishes in Acaidana for 2020 and 2021 for the same time period.
Jan. 1- July 14, 2020:
CALCASIEU: 2 (same incident)
JEFF DAVIS: 0
ST. LANDRY: 1
ST. MARTIN: 0
ST. MARY: 1
Jan. 1- July 14, 2021:
JEFF DAVIS: 0
ST. LANDRY: 1
ST. MARTIN: 0
ST. MARY: 2
The cause of these fatal fires have been attributed to unattended cooking, unsafe smoking practices and improper electrical wiring.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is now calling on all Louisiana citizens to increase fire safety awareness and fire escape planning in and around their homes.
“At the start of the year, we were seeing a concerning trend with fire fatalities, though just one loss of life is always one too many,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, “After a call to action to the public, those tragedies, thankfully, became less frequent. But now that we’ve hit the midway point of the year, I want to renew that call to action in hopes of preventing a continued elevated count of fire deaths in the latter part of the year.”
And while the number of deaths are up, the agency says that requests to the SFM to conduct fire investigations is down. This means that the number of fires determined to be intentionally set have been less frequent this year.
“The first line of defense against fire is prevention,” said Browning, “Prevention starts with awareness. I’m asking all Louisiana families to be aware of the fire hazards currently in your home and address them sooner rather than later. I’m also hoping the fire safety tips we have to offer help families keep fire hazards from developing in their homes.”
Safety tips from the SFM:
Cooking safety tips:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking anything on the stove.
- Avoid cooking when you’re tired or impaired.
- Make sure your cooking space is free of clutter and combustible materials.
- Ensure children are at least three feet away from an active stove, sharp objects and hot foods and/or liquids.
- Keep a lid close by in the event a small, stovetop fire occurs that can be smothered by placing the lid over it and turning off the heat.
- For large cooking fires, get yourself and any other occupants out of the home immediately and call 911 for help.
- Smoke outdoors.
- Ensure all smoking materials are properly extinguished in the appropriate manner.
- Keep all spark-producing objects, like lighters, out of the reach of children.
- Refrain from smoking when tired or under the influence of alcohol or medications that make you drowsy.
- Avoid connecting extension cords and power strips to create power sources where a wall outlet does not exist.
- Don’t overload cords and strips if using them for temporary purposes.
- Plug all appliances directly into wall outlets to prevent overheating of wires.
- If your home is experiencing electrical issues, have a licensed electrician evaluate the situation and make any needed repairs.
In many of these fatal fires, the SFM says that homes were not equipped with working smoke alarms or sprinkler systems.
Smoke alarms are a proven tool to alert residents to a fire danger in order to escape safely while home fire sprinklers can immediately limit the threat to life and damage to property, they say.
The SFM’s Operation Save-A-Life partners with local fire departments to install smoke alarms for free for families that need them most.
To learn more about Operation Save-A-Life, or to register for a smoke alarm installation, visit lasfm.org
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