11th Annual Family Fire Safety Day - 10/25/2014

11th Annual Family Fire Safety Day – 10/25/2014

PORTAGE, MIOctober 25, 2014E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire & Safety, WOOD TV 8, WOTV 4, AM 590 WKZO, 106.5 WVFM and WNWN 98.5 FM invited families to learn how to be fire safe today at the 11th Annual Family Fire Safety Day from 10am – 2pm at Lowe’s in Portage.


The day included a variety of activities. For starters, there were free 9-volt and AA battery and smoke alarm give-a-ways (while they lasted).  Plus, children and families had the chance to meet WVFM’s Ken Lanphear and  WOOD TV’s Bill Steffen as well as Jake The Fire Safety Dog from E.S.C.A.P.E.


Jake guided families as they crawled under the smoke inside the E.S.C.A.P.E. fire safety demonstration trailer and went outside to the designated meeting place.


In addition, a Life EMS Ambulance was on location and paramedics distributed safety information and a Portage fire engine was also available for a tour that offered the opportunity to ask the crew about their equipment.


Jake the Fire Safety Dog invited his friend, Dr. Seely Rotigel, to join us this year. She promoted health and safety for Jake and his four legged friends.


Coffee Rescue was on location serving refreshments again this year.


There was even a Halloween costume contest for kids with prizes at 11am.


Adults even had the opportunity to enter to win free fire safety items.


“2013 ended with the worst civilian fire fatality rate not seen since 1999 throughout Michigan,” said Firefighter Michael McLeieer, President and Founder of E.S.C.A.P.E. “Most of the fatalities, especially those here in West Michigan occurred in homes without working smoke alarms.  It’s through events like the Family Fire Safety Day that we can connect the community and first responders together to educate and empower families to plan, prepare and practice fire safety all throughout the year,” said McLeieer.

E.S.C.A.P.E. would like to thank our generous sponsors and supporters of this annual event:

The E.S.C.A.P.E. Mobile Training Center Fire & Safety Trailer

The E.S.C.A.P.E. Mobile Training Center Fire & Safety Trailer

Our five bugle premier media sponsors

Our five bugle premier media sponsors

The 2014 E.S.C.A.P.E. Mobile Training Center five bugle sponsors.

The 2014 E.S.C.A.P.E. Mobile Training Center five bugle sponsors.

To view the photo album from the 11th Annual Family Fire Safety Day, visit:


For more information about E.S.C.A.P.E. and other fire safety tips, visit http://www.escapeinc.org or http://www.jakethefiredog.org.



Halloween can be fun when you stay safe!

Halloween can be fun when you stay safe!

Halloween is coming soon. Our friend Maranda from WOTV4Women offers these tips to make your night safe, fun and enjoyable.

Flame Resistant Costumes
Look for flame-resistant costumes. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends costumes made out of synthetic materials like nylon or polyester, which are less flammable than other materials.

Make sure you glow!
Make sure the Trick-or-Treaters have a flashlight. Add reflective tape to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags. Have everyone wear light-colored clothing in order to be seen.

Face Paint Fright
Instead of masks, which can cover the eyes and make it hard to see, consider using face paint.

Trick-or-Treating Route
Plan the Trick-or-Treat route and make sure adults know where children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children along the planned route.

Get the Pumpkin Glow
Use a glow stick instead of a candle in the Jack-O-Lantern to avoid a fire hazard.

Sidewalk Safety
Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic. Look both ways before crossing the street and cross only at the corner. Don’t cut across yards or use alleys. Don’t cross between parked cars.

Bright Front Porch
If someone is welcoming Trick-or-Treaters at their home, they should make sure the outdoor light is on. Accept treats at the door – never go inside.

Safe Walking Zone
Sweep leaves from the sidewalks and steps. Make sure you clear the porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over.

Animal Safety
Restrain any household pets. Be cautious around neighbor’s pets and any other animals, no matter how cute they may be!



October is Fire Safety Month, and Jake the Safety Dog and E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety want to make sure your family is safe with these fire safety tips:

  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm
  • Test your alarm monthly
    • Change batteries yearly
    • Replace alarm every ten years
  • Have a smoke alarm in each bedroom and on each floor
    • Don’t put an alarm in the kitchen to reduce false alarms
  • Call your local fire department’s non-emergency line with questions or concerns
  • Review home escape plans
    • Have at least two exits that are easily accessible
    • Have a meeting place for the family



It’s family business at Spencer Manufacturing in South Haven. Our friend Maranda from WOTV 4 Women visited the family-owned company, which has been building custom fire trucks since 1986.

Spencer creates each fire truck based on what a fire department needs. Each truck takes about three months to complete and is made in three steps: building the body, painting, and checking the plumbing and electrical. The staff at Spencer have to follow strict guidelines in building the fire trucks. Each truck can cost anywhere between $100,000 and $1 million.



Jake The Fire Safety Dog joined his friend Maranda from WOTV4Women and kids in Kalamazoo came ready to run the Fifth Third Junior on October 22.

Kids ages five to 13 got to participate in a half mile or one mile fun run on the track at Kalamazoo Central High School. The program is hosted by the Fifth Third River Bank Run. It introduces kids to running through the Feelin’ Good Mileage Club, which took place in more than 20 area schools. Students who completed at least five miles in the Feelin’ Good Mileage Club got to participate in Fifth Third Junior for free!


KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. (WOTV) Students in the Kalamazoo area are getting a first-hand lesson at how trees turn into lumber. The Log to Lumber program was started five years ago to teach kids in wood shop about where lumber comes from. The program also shows them how their classes relate to real-life situations and lets them explore career opportunities they might not otherwise know about.

The program teaches students about forestry, forest management, how to measure a tree, determine its value, and cut it down. It then takes them through the process of hauling a tree to the saw mill and cutting it into boards.


Here is the full video of the Log to Lumber program on Maranda Where You Live – 10/23/2014:

Here is the 1st part of the Log To Lumber program on Maranda Where You Live – 10/23/2014:

Here is the 2nd part:

Here is the 3rd part:

Here is the 4th and final part:


Nothing says fall quite like a campfire. Whether telling spooky ghost stories or roasting marshmallows around the fire, it’s important to understand how to stay safe around a fall campfire.

  • Select an appropriate location. Before creating a campfire, make sure you understand any rules or regulations for your area. Avoid building the fire near low-hanging branches, tree roots, structures, and other flammable items. Try to choose a location where your fire will be sheltered from the wind and use campfire rings or other designated campfire accessories whenever possible.
  • Use the appropriate campfire fuel. Soft woods like pine, fir, and cedar are best for starting a fire. Start the fire by building a small teepee of dry sticks and igniting it with a match. As the fire gets started, add larger pieces of wood. Remember to keep the fire small. Don’t burn items that may explode or give off toxic fumes. Items should never be thrown in a fire. That includes batteries, plastic bags, glass, and aluminum cans.
  • Supervise the campfire area continuously. A responsible adult should always be present while a campfire is burning. Encourage small children to stay seated several feet away from the fire. Extinguished campfire areas should still be monitored after the flames have gone out to make sure the campfire does not re-ignite and to make sure that children are not burned by embers, which still retain heat even after the fire is extinguished.
  • Completely extinguish the campfire. A roaring fire is both a success, and a responsibility. It is your job to properly maintain and extinguish your campfire when you are finished. Make sure you always have a large bucket of water and metal shovel on hand to put out the fire. Pour lots of water on the fire, drown all embers, not just the red ones, until the hissing sound stops. Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel and pour more water on the ashes, then feel the area to make sure they are cold to the touch.

From the pumpkin patch to ghost stories around the campfire, E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety reminds you that fall activities are more fun when you know that your kids are safe Where You Live!


Smoke alarms are vital resources in any home, but especially where children live. 2013 ended as the worst year for civilian fire deaths in Michigan that we haven’t seen since 1999. The rise in fire fatalities occurred in homes that didn’t have working smoke alarms. Sometimes the smoke alarm battery is removed because of a nuisance alarm (caused by cooking or steam from the shower), or when the smoke alarm “chirps” due to a low battery. These loud and unexpected noises often scare young children.

My friends from E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire & Safety offer these tips to introduce the sound of a smoke alarm and talk about fire safety to children early and often:

  • Talk about fire safety with your kids in their home, where they feel secure. It’s never too early to begin discussions about who firefighters are, what a family escape map is, and how and when to go to a neighbor’s house during a fire or smoke emergency.
  • Practice home fire drills on a regular basis. This can decrease anxiety and allow children to respond calmly.
  • Teach children that the smoke alarm gives an early warning so everyone can get out of the house safely.
  • Begin to practice by pretending the alarm has gone off, and have the child leave the house quickly and calmly.
  • Next, place a pillow over the alarm, or place duct tape or electrical tape over the horn of the smoke alarm to muffle the sound. Press the test button to activate the alarm and introduce the softer sound to the child.
  • Once the child is comfortable with the softer sound of the smoke alarm, remove the tape and allow him or her to hear the actual sound.
  • Set the alarm off on purpose and practice leaving the house again.
  • During fire drills, practice leaving the house from different rooms so children get used to doing so.
  • Practice a fire drill at night, after children have gone to sleep since some children may sleep through the sound of a smoke alarm.

If your child’s fear about the smoke alarm continues, especially when it’s activated in school, have a short meeting with your child’s teacher to explain the issue. The teacher may be able to devote extra class time to discussions about what happens during a fire drill. Often when students have the chance to talk about their smoke alarm fears with their classmates, they will realize it’s not as scary as it seems.

Finally, some children with a form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may experience sensory overload and may not be able to initially handle high-pitched noises, such as the sound of a smoke alarm. The blaring noise may prevent the child from thinking or comprehending the appropriate action to take and cause him or her to freeze or hide. A scared child won’t be able to learn and may not remember what to do during an emergency.  Again, to introduce children with ASD to the sound of a smoke alarm, try placing a pillow or heavy tape over the horn. Once the test button is depressed, the sound level emitted during the drill will be reduced and the child won’t experience pain and will less likely to become scared. There are even smoke alarms available where a parent can record their own voice into the alarm. During an alarm activation the parent’s voice will speak to the child alerting him or her to Get Out and Stay Out during fire or smoke conditions.

With lots of patience, positive reinforcement and encouragement, you can teach children ways to reduce the anxiety and fear from the sound of a smoke alarm. They will understand what to do and where to go during fire or smoke conditions.


Did you know that many people don’t test their smoke alarms as often as they should?  Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan.  When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast.  You need working smoke alarms to give you early warning so you can get outside quickly.

Facts About Home Fires

  • According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,910 civilian injuries, 2,520 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage.
  • On average, seven people died in U.S. home fires per day from 2007 to 2011.
  • Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths.
  • Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2012, eight home fires killed five or more people resulting in a total of 44 deaths.

Smoke Alarms

  • Almost three of five (60%) of reported home fire deaths throughout the U.S. from 2007 to 2011 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 93% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 79% of the time.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires.  For the best protection, or where extra time is needed, to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.

Safety Tips

  • Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home, including in the basement.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • 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 ten 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 ten years old.

E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire & Safety, State Fire Marshal Richard Miller, and your local fire department remind you to plan ahead!  If a fire breaks out in your home, you may have only a few minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds.  Everyone needs to know what to do and where to go including the location of the meeting place once outside.