Mississippi has one of the highest fire mortality rates in the nation. Older adults, young children, and people in substandard housing or mobile homes are at the highest risk for fire-related deaths.
The Mississippi State Department of Health offers fire prevention and safety presentations and participates in planning safety events for schools.
Many residential fire deaths and injuries can be prevented by following a few simple safety tips.
Fire Safety Tips
Install smoke detectors
Check smoke detectors once a month and change the batteries at least once a year. Smoke detectors sense abnormal amounts of smoke or invisible combustion gases in the air. They can detect both smoldering and burning fires. At least one smoke detector should be installed on every level of a structure.
Post emergency numbers near telephones
If a fire threatens your home, you should not call emergency services from inside the home. Get out and place the call to fire authorities from a safe location outside the home.
Have a safe fire escape method
The best fire alert system is useful only if you can get out when the alarm goes off.
Space heaters need space
Keep portable and space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that may burn. Never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to sleep. Children and pets should always be kept away from heating devices.
Never smoke in bed or when you are sleepy. Carelessly discarded cigarettes are a leading cause of fire deaths in the United States.
Use caution in the kitchen
Keep cooking areas clear of flammable materials and wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Keep the handles of your pots turned inward so they do not overhang the stove. If grease catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and smother the flames, then turn off the burner.
Matches and lighters are dangerous
In the hands of a child, matches and lighters can be deadly! Store matches where kids can't reach them, preferably in a locked area. Teach children that matches and lighters are tools and should only be used by adults.
Use electricity safely
If an appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately and have it repaired. Replace frayed or cracked electrical cords and don't overload extension cords. They should not be run under rugs. Never tamper with the fuse box or use the improper size fuse.
Cool a burn
If someone gets burned, immediately place the wound under cool water for 10 to 15 minutes. If the burn blisters, see a doctor for care as soon as possible.
Watch out for halogen lights
If you have high-wattage halogen lights, make sure they are away from flammable drapes and low ceiling areas. Never leave them on when you leave your home or office.
For Older Adults
Remembering When is a fire and fall prevention program for adults 65 and older. Older adults are twice as likely to be killed or injured by fires or falls compared to the population at large. To arrange a Remembering When presentation in your organization or community, along with safety tips, lesson plans and fact sheets, contact the MSDH Injury Prevention program at 601-206-1559.
The Mississippi State Fire Marshal oversees fire prevention and safety programs in the state.
Smoke Detectors Can Expire!
Smoke detectors don't last forever. Each year, check to see whether your smoke detector has expired. Here's how. Download complete fact sheet