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Don’t neglect fire safety around the holidays

The deaths of two children in a Vicksburg house fire underscore the importance of fire safety and smoke alarm use.

The children, one 16 months old and the other 27 months old, died Thursday night in a fire that consumed their home. Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey said 16-month-old Mariah Dearman and 27-month-old Glen Williams were pronounced dead at the scene. Their bodies were taken to the state Crime Lab in Jackson for autopsies, which he said are mandatory in fire deaths.

Firefighters were called about 9:49 p.m. to a fire affecting two homes at 713 and 715 Johnson Street. Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said police and firefighters arriving on the scene reported the fire fully involved.

It’s unclear if the home had working smoke alarms, but they are the best way to ensure your family survives a fire. Below are tips about fire safety from the National Fire Protection Association. Please put them in practice. Doing so could save your life.

• Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.

• Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.

• Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.

• There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in the home.

• A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet from the stove.

• People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.

• Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

• Check batteries and replace when necessary.