07-14-2020 Jake with Kids

by:  Firefighter Michael McLeieer, President and Founder, E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety

Wednesday, July 15, is National Pet Fire Safety Day and Jake the Fire Safety Dog is teaching kids and adults how to stay safe in the event of an emergency!

Get Low and Go is what children and families learn when they watch demonstrations by Jake the Fire Safety Dog, a black Labrador retriever service canine dedicated to teaching fire safety techniques.

Jake was introduced in June of 2007 at the Maranda Park Parties and he was the newest addition, at that time, to the E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety program.  E.S.C.A.P.E. stands for Education Showing Children and Adults Procedures for Evacuations and this year marks the 25th anniversary for the non-profit fire safety charity.

Each year, children are seriously injured or killed in home fires.  Jake is able to bridge the educational gap, engage children and teach the traditional fire safety messages in the classroom and at large community events in a non-traditional way through his vivid demonstrations.

Some of the techniques Jake performed include:

  • Crawl Low Under Smoke
  • Get Out and Stay Out from a smoke-filled building
  • Assemble at a meeting place away from the home
  • Children should never go up to a strange animal without a trusted grown-up’s permission

“All kids love animals so when they see Jake the Fire Safety Dog come into the classroom and perform his demonstrations and crawl low under the smoke and fire, it just hits home more with them and they remember what to do in an emergency,” said Adam Munoz, a West Michigan elementary school teacher who has seen Jake in action in his classroom many times.

For more information about fire safety and Jake the Fire Safety Dog, visit:  https://www.woodtv.com/wotv4women/maranda/escape-fire-safety/animals-teaching-important-life-saving-practices/ or www.escapeinc.org.

Remember to practice fire safety with everyone in your family everyday Where You Live!


05-22-2020 Grilling Fire Safety-WKZO

Listen to the live interview on WKZO AM 590 and FM 106.9 from Friday May 22nd at 8:50 a.m.

And here are some safety tips from Maranda Where You Live on Friday May 22nd at 11:50 a.m.



Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff weekend to the start of summertime fun.  If your weekend plans include grilling, sitting around the campfire or using fireworks, here are some important tips to keep you and your family safe!

Campfire Safety

Having a campfire can be one of the greatest joys of summer.  Whether roasting marshmallows, cooking a meal or surrounded by family and friends, it’s important to understand how to stay safe around a 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. Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids to start a campfire.  Never throw items into 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 and pets 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.

Grilling Safety

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 20,000 people across the United States went to the hospital due to grilling-related injuries from 2014 to 2018.  Grills were involved in nearly 4,000 structure fires in that time.  Seven out of every ten adults in the United States have a grill or smoker, which translates to a lot of tasty meals.  But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires and thermal burns.  A grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard.  Remember:

  • Propane and charcoal barbeque grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed at least 10 feet away from your home or anything that can burn including deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in the trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.


  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.


  • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
  • Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose.  A propane leak will release bubbles.
  • If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill.  If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.  If the leak does not stop, call 911.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call 911.  Do not move the grill.
  • If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.

05-20-2020 Grilling Fire Safety-WOTV

Fireworks Safety

Fireworks are as American as apple-pie, but 2 out of 5 fires reported during the summertime are started by fireworks.  Thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks.  Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks which include devasting burns, injuries to the eyes, hands and face, fires and even death.  Here are some ways you can enjoy the Memorial Day holiday injury-free:

  • Check with your local municipality to determine if and when consumer fireworks may be used.
  • Leave pets at home and keep them inside during fireworks displays.
  • Parents and caregivers should always closely supervise children where fireworks are used.
  • Leave fireworks to the experts.  However, if you are going to use fireworks:
    • Follow manufacturer instructions,
    • Wear protective eyewear,
    • Only light one device at a time outdoors and
    • Maintain a safe distance after lighting
    • Never re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks


E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety reminds you that Memorial Day weekend activities are more fun when you know that your kids and family are safe and secure because Fire Is Everyone’s Fight®!




Ask any teacher and they’ll tell you that the lessons can be taught but the real magic is when the student shows that the lesson was learned.

And in the Eaton County community of Olivet that lesson could have been a lifesaver.

You might remember Jake the Fire Safety Dog.


He’s an important part of the 6 News “Safety for You” effort in mid Michigan.

Every year Jake visits dozens of classrooms to demonstrate the importance of having a fire escape plan and how to crawl to safety during a fire.

Last week fire hit an Olivet garage and forced a family from their home at 2 a.m.

When firefighters arrived they found the family gathered together in a safe place while the fire was put out.

Afterwards, while talking with Fire Chief John Collins, the family was explaining what happened and what they did during the fire.

That’s when their 5-year-old daughter piped up and proudly said that they had a safe meeting place because Jake the Fire Dog taught them about it when he visited a preschool class.

No one was injured and this is the 50th documented time a family was “saved” by a child who saw a Jake the Fire Dog or other E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety presentation.

ONLINE: Jake the Fire Safety Dog



Photo courtesy Jake the Fire Safety Dog

We provide our pets food, attention, medical care, and love. In exchange, they offer companionship, protection, enjoyment, and their own love for us.  For all they have to offer, they must rely on us for protection from harm.

Did you know pet poisoning cases dramatically increase around Valentine’s Day? Some well-intentioned gifts actually can be toxic for pets.

The E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety team and Jake the Fire Safety Dog offer some common causes of pet poisoning along with tips to keep your pet safe:

Roses: Although roses don’t often cause serious poisoning beyond gastrointestinal upset, there’s risk for trauma to the mouth and paws from the thorns.  Additionally, if a large enough portion of the rose head or stem is ingested, a bowel obstruction may result.

Lilies: A beautiful but deadly alternative to Valentine’s Day roses is a fresh bouquet of Lilies.  The toxin can be found in the petals, leaves, pollen, or even the water in the vase.  Lilies are extremely toxic to cats and cause acute kidney failure within one or two days of exposure.  If not treated, the exposure and ingestion will likely result in death.

Chocolate and cocoa: The classic Valentine’s Day treats can be toxic to pets.  Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical similar to caffeine that’s highly toxic to dogs and cats.  The darker or more concentrated the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains.  Therefore, the most dangerous chocolates are baker’s chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and gourmet dark chocolates.  Ingestions of small amounts of chocolate may cause mild vomiting and diarrhea.  Larger amounts can cause severe agitation, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures, collapse or eventually death.

Xylitol: Xylitol is a commonly used and naturally occurring sugar substitute.  It can be used alone or in combination with aspartame or other sweeteners and is used in many sugar-free chewing gums, and baked goods.  Around Valentine’s Day, beware of its use in breath mints, colorful candy presents or sugar-free cake or muffin mixes.  Xylitol may cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar as well as liver damage in dogs.  Within 10-15 minutes of ingestion, dogs may develop hypoglycemia, lose coordination and start vomiting.  Collapse and seizures may quickly follow.  In rare cases, these signs won’t appear until several hours after ingestion.

Other items to avoid feeding to your pet include:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate covered espresso beans)
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Onions or onion powder
  • Fatty foods
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Raisins and grapes

If you suspect a poisoning situation involving your pet, contact your local veterinarian, a local emergency veterinary service or the ASPCA National Poison Center at (888) 426-4435 or the Regional Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 for poisoning involving people.


Connecting families to make sure children have a great start. That was the goal of the Play, Learn, Explore Early Childhood Resource Fair.

The fair took place at the Kent Career Technical Center on April 23. Hundreds of families came to see more than 60 preschool and child care centers and 20 vendors that serve families with young children. There were free resources for families to learn about health, dental care, maternity health, children’s development, and more. It was fun for kids too, with plenty of activities, crafts, music, food, and more!

Kids got to visit with mascots from the West Michigan Whitecaps and Grand Rapids Griffins along with Clifford the Big Red Dog and Curious George. The United Dairy Industry of Michigan was there with easy snacks you can make it home that pack a nutritional punch with dairy. The Kent County Oral Health Coalition talked to families about importance of oral health and access to dental care they have through Healthy Kids Dental.

John Ball Zoo spread the word about family memberships and classes for kids ages three up to high school age. Bethany Christian Services talked to families about being refugee parents. Michael McLeieer of E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. and Operation Save a Life educated children about fire safety and the importance of smoke alarms. And Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital’s Injury Prevention Program focused on three safety measures – making sure kids are in proper car seats, wear helmets when riding bikes, and never leaving kids unattended in or around water.