Volume 1 Number 46
November 15, 2004




Now that the weather is cooling off, Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher is urging Floridians to think about how to stay safe when trying to stay warm.  Begin with a fresh battery in the smoke alarm, he said, or install an alarm if you don’t have one.

 “Working smoke alarms provide time to escape, reducing the risk of death or injury from fire by as much as 50 percent,” Gallagher said, noting that working smoke alarms were present in fewer than 5 percent of the 58,000 fire incidents reported to the State Fire Marshal’s Office in 2003.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office, housed within the Department of Financial Services, has launched a number of programs this year aiming to educate Floridians on fire prevention and safety – from bookmarks with safety tips for third-graders to a program on DVD for senior citizens. 

The State Fire Marshal’s Office places special emphasis on education for children and the elderly, two age groups who are most often injured or killed in a fire.  For information about those programs and safety tips for all ages, visit

Gallagher particularly urges Floridians to follow these cold-weather safety tips: 

  • Have gas heaters and other gas appliances checked for leaks or damage.
  • Have air conditioner handlers checked for any dust that could spark a fire when the heater is turned on for the first time.
  • Keep space heaters and other heat sources at least three feet away from furniture, walls and drapes.
  • Clean chimneys regularly, even if they are not used often.  Besides soot, birds and squirrels may leave behind unexpected items – such as a nest.  Do not burn anything in the fireplace other than firewood.
  • Burn candles in a sturdy holder and keep them away from children and pets.
  • Review and practice your family’s fire escape plan.


The skyline for November is beautiful Lakeland in Polk County.