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Fire awareness video featuring Osaka grannies warns of risky home behavior

This screen capture taken from the Osaka Municipal Fire Department's official YouTube video shows a granny warning of behavior that could cause a fire.

OSAKA -- The Osaka Municipal Fire Department has released a fire-prevention video featuring "Osaka obachans" -- grannies with a take-no-nonsense attitude typically dressed in animal print clothes -- as older residents in the western Japan city account for 70% of house fire deaths.

    The video, available on the Osaka fire department's official YouTube channel, was created by the department as part of the fire prevention awareness week for senior residents between Sept. 17 and 23, as Japan's Respect for the Aged Day national holiday falls on Sept. 21. Members of the Osaka granny group "Obachaaan" appear in the video, dressing up as fire extinguishing monsters and comically warning the viewers to beware of situations that could lead to fires, such as smoking in bed or leaving the kitchen while cooking.

    In the city of Osaka, a total of 2,159 house fires were reported in a span of five years between 2015 and 2019, and 122 people died as a result, not including suicides. Altogether, 92 deaths were of people aged 65 and older, accounting for 75.4% of the fatal cases.

    Of the house fires caused by elderly people, accidental cases involving cigarettes were the most common, totaling 410, followed by 349 cases of fires involving kitchen stoves where objects around the stoves caught fire, and 186 fires caused by people stepping away from kitchen stoves while cooking, causing cooking oil to overheat.

    The Osaka fire department said, "We are calling out to people to take precautions against fires with Obachaaan members and the unforgettable video."

    (Japanese original by Akihiko Tsuchida, Osaka City News Department)

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