Security bars on homes a fire danger, fire officials say

Published: Sep. 13, 2016 at 9:11 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2016 at 10:43 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - In the aftermath of the Memphis, Tennessee house fire that killed nine people early Monday morning, local fire officials are urging you to have a plan and make sure you have preventative measures in place.
Three adults and six children in Memphis died when the power cord on their air conditioning malfunctioned, causing the fire. Metal bars remained over almost all the windows in the house, though it is unclear if the victims attempted to escape from the windows.
Regardless, Columbia Fire Department spokesperson Brick Lewis says those security bars can be a fire hazard if there's no way to release them. While he says the fire department doesn't aim to tell people what is best for their personal safety, when it comes to fire safety and prevention, they recommend installing quick release latches to ensure the ability to get out of a window in the case of an emergency.


"The best thing to do is look at the options, whether that means removing them and go by other means of security, or looking at adding additional security to those bars, by adding a release latch system," said Lewis.
It's also critical to make sure you have at least two routes out of your house in the event of a fire.
"You always want to have a secondary egress out of the home or out of your structure from a fire, so that's one of the main things. You also want to have a plan. You want everyone in your home to know what to do in case there's a fire. Where to go after you get out of your home, to call 911… those things."
For more information from Columbia fire officials about how to make a fire escape plan with your family, click here.
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