20 fire fatalities make January Tennessee’s third-deadliest month since 2010

NASHVILLE — The latest tally of January fire fatalities has the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office urgently renewing its call that residents turn their focus to fire prevention during the high-risk winter months.

Current SFMO data indicates that 15 fatal fires caused 20 fatalities in Tennessee during January 2018, making it the third-deadliest month for fire deaths since 2010, according to a release from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

December 2016 had 24 deaths and January 2010 had 21 deaths, according to the release.

Historically, January leads all other months in residential fires, heating fires and fatal fires in Tennessee.

The SFMO offers the following guidelines to help prevent deadly winter fires:

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
• Check electrical cords for space heaters and other appliances to make sure they are not frayed or damaged.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
• Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.
• Replace alarms that are 10 years old or older.
• Make a home fire escape plan. Have two ways out of every room in the home if possible and a designated outside meeting place. Practice the plan with everyone who lives in the home.
• Always remember to close the door behind you when escaping a fire.

For more home fire safety information or to download a free copy of the 2018 Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office calendar, visit tn.gov/fire.