State reminds Alaskas to stay fire safe as temperatures drop
As the outdoor temperature drops and the days grow shorter, Alaskans crank the heat up and generally spend more time indoors. According to the state, fall season tends to be the peak season for house fires in Alaska, and those are often deadly.
Last year the 805 house fires were the source of 66 injuries, 18 deaths, and nearly $6.1 million in property damage.
Mike Warzewick, a spokesman for the state's Fire and Life Safety division, said accidents involving unattended cooking were the leading cause of house fires, followed by improperly maintained or malfunctioning heating furnaces.
The most important steps to preventing fires, Warzewick said, are installing functional smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in every residential building, regularly testing those alarms, taking proper care of stoves and furnaces, and never leaving cooking unattended.
"We have a plethora of information on fire safety" available at the state's website, he said.
This year, the National Fire Prevention Association's Fire Prevention Week was held from Oct. 8-14 under the slogan "Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out". Fire departments around the country reached out to educate communities on fire preparedness, with an emphasis on planning at least two escape routes from the home in the event of a fire.
More information on fire preparedness can be found online at firepreventionweek.gov and at dps.alaska.gov/fire.