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Alarms can help prevent fire deaths

Sadly, fire deaths were up significantly across the state in 2018, according to data from the State Fire Marshal Office.

Mississippi saw 79 fire deaths in 2018. One of those deaths was here in Lincoln County. The State Fire Marshal Office investigated 74 of those, while local agencies investigated the other five deaths. That’s compared to 56 fire deaths statewide in 2017, with 53 of those investigated by SFMO.

The number of fire deaths in 2018 reflects a 36 percent increase over fire deaths during the previous year.

“As recently as 2006, the SFMO has investigated upwards of 100 fire deaths,” State Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Ricky Davis said. “In fact, in the last five years, we’ve significantly lowered the number of preventable fire deaths across the state. I can’t say specifically why the numbers are higher this year but, in a majority of these cases, a working smoke alarm could have saved lives.”

Out of the 74 fire deaths investigated by SFMO, there were 38 cases in which no smoke alarms were present. State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said in 12 cases there were smoke alarms but they didn’t work.

“It’s upsetting because these fires were preventable and, in every one of these cases, a life could have been saved,” said Chaney. “The State Fire Marshal Office doesn’t just investigate after a fire has occurred. Our educators are out working in communities and schools every day.”

SFMO educators reached over 41,000 people in 2018 and visited more than 300 schools.

“Still, more people need to install and maintain smoke alarms and make escape plans specific to their home,” Chaney said. “One fire death is one too many.”

A family in Lincoln County survived a house fire Thursday night. Thankfully no one was hurt in the blaze.

We encourage everyone to install smoke alarms and make sure they work properly. The simple devices can save lives, maybe your own.