According to the Office of the Governor, Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich is reminding Illinois residents to be safe this winter, especially when it comes to electric holiday decorations and indoor heating.
In 2006 alone, electric indoor heating equipment caused a total of 355 fires in Illinois. Of those 355 fires, 12 people were injured and one died. There was also a whopping total of $12.5 million in public and private property damage.
Governor Blagojevich stated, “While the holiday season is a favorite time of year for many people, it’s also the time when we see an increased number of home fires that could have been prevented with a little caution. A few simple steps to ensure safety can save lives this winter.”
The Governor’s warning is part of his and the state’s Keep Warm Illinois campaign. He along with the Office of the State Fire Marshal are working hard to increase awareness about heating and fire safety, especially since there is a spike in accidents during winter.
Additionally, Keep Warm Illinois also helps people who can not afford the rising energy costs, but it also offers snow safety tips and ideas on how to better insulate homes. More information about the campaign is available at www.keepwarm.illinois.gov or by calling (877) 411-WARM.
State Fire Marshal David B. Foreman said about the campaign, “The State Fire Marshal’s Office is pleased to once again join with Gov. Blagojevich’s Keep Warm Illinois campaign to help people stay safe and warm this winter. We don’t want anyone’s holiday celebrations to be ruined by a tragic fire. And even after the holiday season is over, people still need to play it safe when heating their homes.”
The Fire Marshal and the Governor are hoping that the number of fire accidents will be drastically reduced, especially since the past years have yielded numerous problems.
Back in 2004, a total of 59,00 fires caused by home heating equipment occurred in the United States. Of that number, 330 people died and 1,250 were injured. This caused $540 million in private and public property damage.
One of the biggest fire hazards during the winter months is holiday decorations, especially ones that require electricity. Last year there were a total of 45 fires in Illinois caused by holiday decorations. One person died as well and the incidents combined yielded $500,000 in property damages. One other big problem was fires caused by candles, since so many people use them around Christmas.
Illinois.gov. “Governor Blagojevich urges fire safety during holiday season and winter months to save lives.” www.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm