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March 16, 2014

Middleton burns with fire safety questions

CHICKASHA —

Ask Randy Middleton, of Forewarn Fire Safety, why house fires are so prevalent and he will ask a few questions of his own. 

"Do you have a fire extinguisher in your bedroom?"

"Do you have an escape plan?"

"Do you have smoke alarms in rooms where fires are most likely to start?" 

Middleton said that he, like many people, answered "no" to these questions before his involvement with Forewarn Fire Safety, which educates families about house fires and home safety issues through seminars and one-on-one counseling. As he learned more about house fires, Middleton developed a burning determination to educate others. 

Every year in the United States, 4,000 people die in house fires. At the time of this report, 784 people have died. This statistic only counts those who die in the fire, not deaths that occur after fire victims are transported to the hospital, Middleton said.  

The U.S. is eight to 12 years behind other countries such as Germany and Australia, that require a fire blanket in all occupied bedrooms, Middleton said. 

"In America, we feel safe for some reason, but none of us are prepared in our homes," he said. 

The government can regulate fire safety in the workplace, such as requiring fire extinguishers and fire exits, but not in houses, Middleton said. A lack of communication about fire safety as well as a sense of inherent safety at home, provides the kindling for 

"Firemen teach fire safety at schools twice a year, but when was the last time you talked about [fire safety] at home?"

Forewarn Fire Safety will be spreading the word at the Oklahoma City Home and Outdoor Living Show on March 21-23 at Oklahoma State Park. The show will feature presentations with HGTV's Justin Cave, a Butterfly House, life-sized landscapes, nearly 20 storm shelter exhibitors, disaster preparedness education and storm shelter grant information from the American Red Cross.  The Chickasha company will have an exhibit and a drawing for a basket containing $350 worth of fire protection items. 

Forewarn Fire Safety is located in the Rainbow Building at 627 Kansas in Chickasha.  Middleton welcomes the public to come to the office and find out about what Forewarn can do for their homes. 

Middleton said that those who mention this article will receive a free people locater sticker upon request.

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