News | December 12, 2005

FEMA, Allies Offer Seasonal Home Fire Safety Tips

About half of all fire-related deaths in Alabama occur during the winter, meaning that nearly 50 people -- the state fire marshal's office recorded 94 fire-related deaths in Alabama last year -- were lost during 2004, mainly from carelessness with cigarettes. FEMA wants homeowners to know fires also can start because of overloaded extension cords or misuse of space heaters and other electrical devices.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Fire Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency offered tips Dec. 8 to ensure the safety of Hurricane Katrina survivors and Alabama residents, including: Keep cloth and paper away from appliances and power outlets; Use caution when cooking with hot oil and keep all cooking surfaces clean; Do not smoke in bed or near heating devices; Be aware that candles cause many fires; Use only approved smoke detectors and fire extinguishers and test them monthly; Do not use space heaters as long-term heat sources and use Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved heaters only; Prepare an escape plan for your family in the event of fire and practice it at least once a month; Use electric blankets approved by the UL and check blankets for frayed electrical cords.

For more information that responders can share with homeowners and others, have them visit