Sunday, November 1, is the time to move the clocks one hour back. It’s also a good time every year to change your smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries.

The National Fire Protection Association reports 71% of smoke alarms which failed to operate had missing, disconnected or dead batteries, making it important to take this time each year to check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms double the chance of a family surviving a home fire and/or an unsafe carbon monoxide level.

Use this checklist to find out if you are taking the right steps to protect your family:

  1. Count Your Smoke Alarms – Be sure there is at least one smoke alarm less than 10 years old installed on every level of your home, including one in every bedroom and outside each sleeping area.
  2. Change Your Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Batteries – Fire experts nationwide encourage people to change their smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries at least once a year.  An easy way to remember to do so is to change the battery when you move the clock back to standard time November 1st.
  3. Check Your Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Alarm – After inserting a fresh battery in each smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, push the safety test button to make sure the alarms are in proper-working condition.  Conduct this test monthly.  Never disconnect your smoke alarm battery!  Remember that a “chirping” alarm is a signal it needs a fresh battery.
  4. Clear Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms – Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms’ sensitivity by cleaning them each month of dust and cobwebs.
  5. Replace Your Smoke Alarms – The United States Fire Administration recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years and having a combination of both ionization and photo electric smoke alarms to keep you alert to all types of home fires.
  6. Change Your Flashlight Batteries – Keep flashlights with fresh batteries at your bedside for help in finding the way out and signaling for help in the event of a fire.
  7. Get the Whole Family Involved – Once smoke and carbon monoxide alarms have fresh batteries installed, you should make sure family members, children in particular, know what the alarms sound like and what to do should they go off…Get Out and Stay Out and then call 911 from a safe meeting place once outside!
  8. If you need a free smoke and/or carbon monoxide alarm, contact your local fire department or email WOTV’s Operation Save A Life program at

Here is a complete list of West Michigan smoke alarm installation programs.

Sometimes saving a life can be that simple – Change Your Clock Change Your Battery® Where You Live!


Make trick-or-treating safe for your little monsters with a few easy safety tips!

Make trick-or-treating safe for your little monsters with a few easy safety tips!

Children dressed in costumes excitedly running door to door to trick-or-treat, festive decorations like glowing jack-o-lanterns, paper ghosts and dried cornstalks adorning front porches – these are some of the classic hallmarks of Halloween that make this time of year special for kids and adults alike.

Unfortunately, these Halloween symbols and activities can also present lurking fire risks that have the potential to become truly scary. But by planning ahead, you can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one.

Halloween by the numbers from the United States Fire Administration:

For each year from 2011 to 2013, an estimated 10,300 fires were reported to fire departments in the United States over a three-day period around Halloween and caused an estimated 25 deaths, 125 injuries, and $83 million in property loss.

According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, Halloween fires occurred most frequently in the late afternoon and early evening hours, peaking during the dinner hours from 5 to 7 p.m. Fires then declined, reaching the lowest point during the early morning hours of 4 to 7 a.m.

The leading causes of Halloween residential fires were cooking (44%), heating (15%), other unintentional careless actions (7%), open flame (6%), electrical malfunction (6%), and intentional actions (5%).

  • Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source.
  • These fires caused an estimated average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13 million in direct property damage throughout the United States per year.
  • Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth begin in the living room, family room or den.


Let’s help our communities be safer during Halloween by sharing a few fire safety tips with everyone:

  • When choosing a costume, stay away from long, trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
  • Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily. Keep all decorations away from open flames such as candles and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
  • Use a battery-operated flameless candle or glow-stick in jack-o-lanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution.  Make sure children are supervised at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.  Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire.  (Have them practice , stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)

For more information about Halloween fires and fire safety, check out the U.S. Fire Administration’s website.

By taking simple fire safety precautions like keeping decorations far away from open flames and using battery-operated candles or glow-sticks in jack-o-lanterns, you can help ensure Halloween remains festive and fun close to Where You Live!

Lowes w Post CU

Join the E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety Team and Jake the Fire Safety Dog this Saturday at Lowe’s in Portage for the 12th Annual Family Fire Safety Day from 10am – 2pm.  Listen to this morning’s interview with WKZO’s Jim McKinney and E.S.C.A.P.E.’s founder Firefighter Michael McLeieer.



October 4 through 10 is Fire Prevention Week. This year’s fire prevention theme is “Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP! Every bedroom needs a working smoke alarm.” Michigan has seen a dramatic increase in home fires resulting in injury and death. This listing provides numerous opportunities for children and families to learn about fire safety, injury prevention, and smoke alarm maintenance close to Where You Live. If you have questions about fire prevention and safety or need a smoke alarm, e-mail

>>> List of fire department open houses

ESCAPE Inc. is celebrating 20 years in West Michigan! See the ESCAPE smoke demonstration trailer and Jake the Fire Safety Dog at Zoo Goes Boo at John Ball Zoo on Saturday, October 17. There will be experts to answer questions and free fire prevention materials between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Dozens of firefighters from West Michigan joined Daybreak on WOOD TV 8 on Friday for Fire Prevention Week.


Michigan ranks in the top five states in the U.S. for the most home fire deaths.

This year, home fire deaths in West Michigan are up 44-percent from 2014.

In an effort to prevent fire-related deaths, WOTV 4 Women, Kidde and E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety have partnered together to create Operation Save a Life.

>>LIST: Smoke alarm installation programs across West Michigan

The free program is designed to make sure people in need of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors not only get them, but also have them installed.


During Fire Prevention Week, which runs from Oct. 4-10, firefighters have been visiting schools and the community to stress the importance of fire safety plans and testing smoke alarms. Alarms more than 10 years old need to be replaced.



E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety Reminds Michigan Residents: Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!

Location matters when it comes to your smoke alarm. That’s the message behind this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!”

Along with firefighters and safety advocates nationwide, E.S.C.A.P.E. is joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) during Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, to remind local residents about the importance of having working smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.

“In a fire, seconds count,” said Firefighter Michael McLeieer, President of E.S.C.A.P.E. “Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving everyone enough time to get out.”

According to the latest national research, working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. Meanwhile, three out of five fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign includes the following smoke alarm messages:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. This way, when one sounds, they all do.
  • Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they don’t respond properly.
  • Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Go to your outside meeting place.
  • Call the fire department from outside the home.

West Michigan Fire Department’s will be hosting free events to highlight fire safety during Fire Prevention Week to promote “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!” Through these educational, family-oriented activities, residents can learn more about the importance of having a working smoke alarm in every bedroom.  A complete listing of area fire safety events may be found here.

To learn more about smoke alarms and “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!” visit NFPA’s Web site at and or