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1.31-22 – WFAB – BATON ROUGE, La.

Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning is sounding the alarm after there have been 15 fire fatalities across the state this January.

The last time Louisiana saw this level of loss of life to fire in the month of January was in 2018 when 20 people died in home fires. But there are some tips to keep in mind.

“This is a very critical point, and we’re sounding the alarm. It’s time now to take action,” said State Fire Marshal Butch Browning.

He says winter is not over yet, and families need to be on alert.

“As we are ending the month of January, we have documented 15 individuals in Louisiana who have died in their homes, the vast majority of these fire deaths are directly tied to the cold weather,” said Browning.

Louisiana State Fire Marshal H. "Butch" Browning
Louisiana State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning(WAFB)

The State Fire Marshal provided these tips to remember:

  • Place space heaters 3-5 feet from combustible objects like blankets and curtains
  • Plug all heating appliances directly into wall outlets, not power strips or extension cords
  • Do not use stoves or ovens to heat homes
  • Don’t overfill fireplaces/wood-burning stoves
  • Do not leave candles/open flames (or space heaters) left unattended
  • Have working smoke alarms in your home!

But the most important step is making sure your smoke alarms are working.

“It’s a small step to take to prevent a fatality in a house. Smoke detectors save lives, they do work,” said Justin Hill with the Baton Rouge Fire Department.

Hill says you need to check the batteries regularly.

“If you push to hold that button, that will test your smoke detector, and let you know that it’s working properly,” said Hill.

And every ten years or so it’s time to get new ones throughout your home.

“You want to place it in the hallway outside those bedrooms. If there was another level of the home, you’d want one on the first floor, and one on the second floor,” said Hill.

“Now’s the time for action, fire safety is important, don’t be a victim,” said Browning.

The Operation Save-A-Life program partners with local fire departments to install smoke alarms for free for families in need. Officials say to schedule the installation of a smoke detector through the program, you can contact your local fire department. To sign up online to have one installed, click here. Or you can always call your local fire department.

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