There were 76 arsons reported in Scioto County in 2015 according to the (Ohio) State Fire Marshal’s Office. Those numbers may not take on a real meaning unless you compare them to surrounding counties. For example, in 2015, Lawrence County reported 39 arsons and Pike County 17. The entire state experienced 4,250 arsons in 2015.
While 2016 is not over and the real fire season is just coming into play, Larry Flowers’ office reports arsons in Scioto County through Oct. 31, 2016 number 54, compared to 25 in Lawrence County and 11 in Pike County. In Ohio, so far through Oct. 31 of this year, 3,379 arson incidents have been reported.
“We always encourage people to listen to the fire prevention message carefully,” (Ohio) State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers told the Daily Times. “Nearly every fire department across the great state has fire prevention messages. There’s opportunities for folks to have working smoke alarms on every level of the home. There’s a lot of great information, and, in many cases, free smoke alarms out there people can get.”
According to the American Red Cross, every day seven people die as a result of a home fire. In order to reduce that figure, the Red Cross has launched an initiative aimed at reducing the number of deaths as a result of fires by 20 percent, by the year 2020.
A key part of the initiative is providing free smoke detectors to everyone that wants or needs them in their home.
A story in the Oct. 11 edition of the Daily Times said, locally, the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross staff and volunteers, have been implementing that initiative by installing smoke detectors and educating the community.
“Seven times a day someone dies in a home fire. We’ve seen this in the news locally, we want to do everything we can to install the smoke detectors and save lives,” Red Cross Executive Director Debbie Smith said.
Smith said the goal for the Ohio River Valley Chapter is to exceed 1,000 installations this year and would love to do far more than that.
“We often find that in our fatal fires that there are not working smoke alarms in the home,” Flowers said. “We determined that based on the investigation of the fire, whether we find the remnants of the smoke alarms or, if there’s witnesses such as neighbors next door, when first responders arrive, whether or not they’re hearing smoke alarms going on.”
Flowers said the state is running close to the same number of fatalities this year as the same time last year.
For more information visit the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross on Facebook or at their offices located at 1801 Robinson Ave, in Portsmouth, or call 740-354-3293.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.