Prevent yourself from becoming the victim of a fatal fire - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Prevent yourself from becoming the victim of a fatal fire

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(WTVM) -

Fire fatalities in the month of January were the highest they've been in nearly two decades. Fire officials say most of them could have been prevented if basic safety precautions were used.

Glen Allen, spokesman for the state insurance, and Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens say that 24 people across the state died in fire related incidents last month, the second highest fatality rate since 31 people died in January of 1996.

"So certainly when you see a January like we've seen across the country this year with the temperatures as low as they've been, it's understandable that you're gonna have more fire events. You have more fire events you're likely to have more fire fatalities," says Allen.

The majority of incidents were heating-related. Another major cause of fatalities was the lack of working smoke alarms inside the homes. Columbus Fire Chief Ricky Shores says it's crucial to check smoke alarms often.

"There's just one message we can get out is to make sure citizens understand how crucially important it is to make sure they have a properly working smoke detector in their home, that it has a battery, and that it's checked monthly," says Shores.

Preventing fires may not be so cut and dry, but some simple tips can mean the difference between life and death. Before a fire even starts in your home, make sure you have an exit plan and practice it. Don't block exits with furniture – that you may need to move in the event of a fire. Keep your space heater away from combustibles and turn them off before you go to sleep. 

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