The number of residential fires in Missouri is on the rise … a trend that concerns the State Fire Marshal. Fire-related fatalities are also happening more frequently in Missouri than in previous years.
State Fire Marshal Randy Cole says people need to take responsibility for implementing safety precautions in their homes.
“We want to make sure homeowners have safety features in place, make sure they are in working order,” he says. “We want to make sure they have smoke detectors, that they test them every month and make sure they replace the batteries at least every six months.”
He says next, get a safety plan in place. Families need to agree on a place where everyone can meet outside in the event of a fire, and “once you’re all there, make sure everyone’s accounted for.”
During the winter, house fires can result from people using alternative heating sources, such as fireplaces, especially during times of economic hardship. However, Cole says he sees no indication that the number of fires points to a poor economy right now.
The Department of Public Safety/Fire Marshal’s Office reports there were more than 60 fire fatalities investigated last year; already this year, more than 50 have died in structure fires.