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The most wonderful time of the year is also the most likely time of the year for home fires. Home fires during the holiday season often involve space heaters, candles, holiday decorations and Christmas trees. By taking some preventative steps, using common sense, and following some simple rules, most home fires can be prevented during the H.O.L.I.D.A.Y. season and beyond.

Listen to the interview between E.S.C.A.P.E.‘s founder Firefighter Michael McLeieer and Morning Show host Ken Lanphear on WKZO AM 590 and FM 106.9 at 7:50 am on December 21, 2020.

  • Have a home safety escape plan, practice two ways out of every room. One way out could be a door and the second way out could be a window.
  • Outside – Go outside to your family meeting place when the smoke alarm sounds and during fire or smoke conditions.
  • Lighters and matches are tools for adults not toys for kids. Make sure you secure them out of the reach of young and curious hands.
  • Inspect holiday lights and wiring for damage. Replace defective accessories.
  • Detectors – Both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors make great gifts.
  • Always turn off a space heater and holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the room.
  • You can take charge of your holiday safety Where You Live!


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‘Tis the season to water your Christmas tree daily to keep it from becoming dry. Also use care with candles and electric lights to keep this joyous time of year safe. More than 1 out of every 4 home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems. A heat source too close to the tree causes 1 in every 4 of the fires.

 

  • Use flameless candles instead of real candles to prevent a home fire.
  • Create a 1-foot circle of safety (keeping anything that can burn away) if you decide to use real candles. Always blow out candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Choose holiday decorations that are labeled flame retardant or not flammable.
  • Keep your live Christmas tree away from heat sources and room exits.
  • Place fireplace ashes in a metal container with a lid and place the container outside and away from buildings and other combustibles.

Remember as you deck the halls this season, be fire smart and don’t burn them down.

 



Making sure your family has a safe escape plan in case of a fire in your home is important to ensure everyone’s safety. Since October is National Fire Prevention Month, Maranda from WOOD TV 8 and WOTV 4 Women visited the Newaygo Fire Department along with her friends from E.S.C.A.P.E Fire Safety to talk about how they are promoting and encouraging fire safety in the community.

These fire safety experts encourage families to make an escape plan and talk about it with your family so everyone is on the same page incase a fire breaks out in your home. They also suggest not only planning the escape plan, but also practicing it so kids will have the muscle memory to react fast in the case of an emergency. They also strongly suggest all families to check smoke and carbon dioxide detectors at least every 6 months to ensure they’re working and up to date.

Maranda thanked her friends from the U.S. Fire Administration and FEMA for awarding her the Certificate of Appreciation for “exemplary service and commitment to our community”. What an honor! Thank you, Maranda for all you do serving our community!

For more information on fire safety, visit escapeinc.org or visit your local fire department.

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It’s Fire Prevention Week this week and to help keep families prepared Fire Lieutenant Michael McLeieer of E.S.C.A.P.E Fire Safety provided information including a family friendly activity so your family can plan and practice your ESCAPE in case of a fire!

Fifteen to twenty years ago, homes had more ‘natural’ materials in them such as cotton, wool and untreated wood.  Because of this, you had 15-20 minutes to escape in the event of a fire.  In a typical home fire today, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds, because of all of the synthetic materials.  Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.

According to a National Fire Protection Association survey, 71% of households have a fire escape plan, but only 47% of those have practiced it.  This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, Not Every Hero Wears a Cape.  Plan and Practice Your Escape.™ provides an opportunity for fire and life safety organizations to share how important it is for everyone to have and practice a home fire escape plan.

Many in the community don’t understand the risks from life-threatening heat and toxic smoke produced in a fire.  Therefore, firefighters and other community advocates will be working hard throughout October to teach the community about the dangers of fire and smoke, the importance of having working smoke alarms installed throughout their home and help them create and practice a home escape plan.

Why home escape planning and practice matter

  • Home escape planning and practice ensure that everyone knows what to do in a fire and is prepared to escape quickly and safely
  • Today’s homes burn faster than ever. You may have as little as two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds.
  • When the smoke alarm sounds in a real fire, it’s too late to start to make a plan.
  • Sleep with your bedroom door closed.  A closed door can actually be an effective barrier against deadly levels of carbon monoxide, smoke and flames – plus it might buy you more time to escape.

What should be included on an escape plan

  • Draw or map out the layout of your home, marking two exits from every room (typically a door and a window) and a path from each exit to the outside.
  • Pick a meeting place outside in front of your home where everyone will meet upon exiting (examples include a sidewalk, fence, driveway, or neighbor’s house).
  • Mark the location of all smoke alarms in your home.  (There should be a least one on every level, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas).
  • Make sure everyone knows how to call 911 or the local emergency number from a mobile phone or neighbor’s phone once they’re safety outside.

Learning about the dangers of fire will help children and adults understand that having a plan is not enough.  It’s essential to practice the escape plan with all members of your household at least twice a year so everyone knows what to do if there is a fire in their home.

E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety reminds you in a fire, seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragic injury or death.  Fire safety education isn’t just for school children.  Teenagers, adults and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take the time every October during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire and steps they can take to prevent a fire from occurring throughout the year Where You Live!

If you need a free smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm installed in the primary home you own and occupy, visit https://bit.ly/2p5czQX for a list of Operation Save A Life installation programs.

About Fire Prevention Week

Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week.  In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in the United States.  During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire.  Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.

Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage.  This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.

For more information about Fire Prevention Week, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.

 



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Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as apple-pie, but did you know that 2 out of 5 fires reported on that day are started by fireworks, more than for any other cause?  Every Independence Day holiday, 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 devastating burns, injuries to the eyes, hands and face, fires and even death.

According to the latest national data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 54% of those injuries were to the extremities and 36% were to the head.  Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated injuries during 2017.

In Michigan, consumer fireworks became legal January 1, 2012, and must meet CPSC standards.  They will only be sold to people 18 years of age or older.  Low impact fireworks (ground-based items such as sparklers, toy snakes, snaps, and poppers) are legal for sale and use.  In December, 2018, new measures were signed into law (House Bill 5939) that reduce the number of days fireworks can be used, give local government more power to regulate the devices and tighten consumer sales and use.

“The best way to stay safe from fireworks is to not use them.  Instead, attend a public fireworks display put on by trained experts,” said Firefighter Michael McLeieer, President of the non-profit fire safety charity E.S.C.A.P.E.  “Fireworks are dangerous to people and pets.  Using them puts you and your property at risk,” according to McLeieer.

You can enjoy your holiday and the fireworks by following a few simple safety tips:

Proceed with caution!

  • Be safe.  If you want to see fireworks, go to a public show put on by the professionals.  To find a fireworks display near you, check out the listings on woodtv.com.
  • Parents and caregivers should always closely supervise children at events where fireworks are used.
  • Hand-held sparklers burn at more than 1,200 °F and cause 3rd degree burns in seconds.  As a comparison, wood ignites at 356 F.
  • If you decide to use sparklers, place discarded sparkler wires in a metal bucket filled with water.
  • Sparklers account for roughly one-quarter (25%) of emergency room fireworks injuries.
  • After the fireworks display, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over since they may still be active.
  • Adults should not use alcohol with fireworks.
  • Follow the local ordinance and state law regarding the use of consumer fireworks.
  • Leave pets at home and keep them inside during fireworks displays.

To learn more about the new state law and your local ordinance pertaining to fireworks, click here.

E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety urges Michiganders to use common sense, be aware of your surroundings and follow safety rules this Fourth of July during holiday celebrations Where You Live!

 

 



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On May 18, 2019, Lt. Michael McLeieer from the Olivet Fire Department in Eaton County and the President and founder of E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. was elected President of the Michigan State Firemen’s Association at the 144th Annual Conference held in Frankenmuth.  He also is the Program Coordinator of the WOTV Operation Save A Life program.

McLeieer will be providing guidance and vision as he and the MSFA Executive Board implement strategies to provide the tools for firefighters and fire departments throughout Michigan to keep their communities safe, healthy, prepared and resilient.

Michigan continues to be a leading state in the country for civilian fire deaths in the home.  There is also a shortage of firefighter candidates in many communities throughout the state.  The recruitment and retention of qualified firefighters is essential to maintaining a safe and healthy community.  That’s why the MSFA has partnered with the National Volunteer Fire Council by supporting its national initiative called Make Me A Firefighter, said McLeieer

“One key to retention has been utilizing new volunteers on proactive projects such as installing new smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in owner occupied homes, providing “hands-only” CPR education in the schools, and teaching the public ways to identify and reduce risky actions which may result in injury or even death,” according to McLeieer.

Approximately 70 percent of fire departments are served by paid-on-call or volunteer firefighters, and roughly 30 percent are served by paid career firefighters.  So when seven out of every ten firefighters or emergency responders are volunteers, fire departments have to make sure that those interested in their local communities understand they can make a difference and a positive impact.  McLeieer has been told the hardest thing for the local fire department is just getting the word out and let people know that the department is seeking volunteers.

The Michigan State Firemen’s Association has been serving Michigan firefighters since 1875.  For more information about Make Me A Firefighter visit www.makemeafirefighter.org or www.msfassoc.org.



The Maranda Park Party season started off with lots of energy and excitement at Lamar Park in Wyoming on Thursday June 21, 2018 (the first day of summer).

Nearly 8,500 people came out to enjoy all of the great fun and food for free. Whether it was flying down the zip line, grabbing a fruit snack from the Meijer Food Truck, learning about fire safety inside the E.S.C.A.P.E. Mobile Training Center or checking out the Rapid Bus, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

This party set the tone for all of the fun-filled parties to come for the rest of the summer.



Pets and animals are an important part of our lives. One special dog in particular, can help us save lives in the event of a fire.

Jake the Fire Safety Dog visited Maranda in studio during the Pet Show. For 11 years now, Jake has been helping children across West Michigan learn how to get out of their homes if a fire breaks out.

Jake is part of the  E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety Team that brings the smoke trailer to events like the Maranda Park Party. The smoke trailer demonstration shows families what would happen if a fire occurs in their home. The trailer fills with theatrical fog. Participants get to see where the smoke enters, how to stop it from entering, and watch Jake show them how to crawl low under the smoke.

For more information about Jake the Fire Safety Dog visit www.jakethefiredog.org.

 



The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations. Kids especially love to be involved in holiday preparations. However, safety in the kitchen is important, especially when there is a lot of activity and people at home.

As you start preparing your holiday schedule and organizing that large family feast, remember to play it safe! E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety offers a few simple tips so you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer from fire.

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop or cooking your turkey so you can keep an eye on the food and check on it frequently.
  • Keep kids away from the stove. Maintain a three-foot kid free zone away from things that are hot and can burn (the stove, oven, microwave, or food).
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Have activities that keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time. Games, puzzles, or books can keep them busy. Kids can get involved in preparations with recipes that can be done outside the kitchen.
  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the oven or stovetop.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pets, pocketbooks, or bags.
  • Keep knives, utility lighters, and matches out of the reach of children. Place these tools up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in a room with a lit candle. When you leave the room, extinguish the candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working and are located on every level of your home. Test them by pushing the test button, replace batteries annually and replace alarms every 10 years.
  • Never place smoke alarms in the kitchen or immediately outside the bathroom where cooking odors or steam from the shower can cause nuisance activations.
  • Keep exits clear and accessible. In case of a fire, everyone in the home needs immediate access to the closest exit leading outside.

If your family needs a new smoke alarm and you are unable to obtain one, contact your local fire department or e-mail escape@wotv4women.com to learn about the Operation Save A Life smoke alarm installation program close to Where You Live!