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.
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, watch a public fireworks display either in person or on television 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:
Be safe. If you want to see fireworks, watch a public show put on by the professionals
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 burns at 575 degrees 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 consume alcohol when using fireworks
Leave pets at home and keep them inside during fireworks displays
Follow the local ordinance and state law regarding the use of consumer fireworks
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!
The smell of a cake baking in the oven or a tasty soup simmering on the stovetop is difficult for both children and adults to resist. However, cooking remains the number one cause of home fires in Michigan and across the United States.
That’s why National Burn Awareness Week, observed the first full week in February, is a window of opportunity for organizations to mobilize burn, fire and life safety educators and unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in the community Where You Live.
“47% of all home fires are caused by cooking. Adults over 65 are at a much higher risk of injury or death from a kitchen fire due to physical, visual, hearing or mental impairments that may slow the quick action necessary in a fire emergency,” according to Firefighter Michael McLeieer, president and founder of the non-profit fire safety charity E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc.
“Thinner skin of older adults burns faster and deeper,” according to McLeieer.
Here are some tips to stay safe and prepared!
Plan A: Primary Prevention
The best time to cook is when you are wide awake and not drowsy from medications or alcohol.
Always wipe clean the stove, oven, and exhaust fan to prevent grease buildup.
Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking.
Keep a pan lid and dry potholders or oven mitts near you EVERY time you cook.
Turn pot or pan handles toward the back of the stove.
When heating food in the microwave, use microwave-safe cookware that allows steam to escape.
Allow food to rest before removing from the microwave.
When frying, use a pan lid or splash guard to prevent grease splatter.
Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave, turn off the stove.
If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or broiling food, check it regularly. Remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you to check on your cooking.
After cooking, check the kitchen to make sure all burners and other appliances are turned off.
Cover the pan with its lid. A cookie sheet works too. Leave covered until the pan is cool. NEVER move the pot or carry it outside – the pot is too hot to handle and the contents may splash, causing a severe burn.
Turn the heat off. With the lid on and the heat off, the fire should quickly put itself out. NEVER use water to put out a kitchen fire. Water will cause the oil to splatter and spread the fire, or scald you as it vaporizes.
If the fire is inside the oven or microwave, keep the door shut and turn it off. Keep closed until the oven is cool.
If the fire gets out of control- get out, stay out and call 9-1-1. Don’t return inside for any reason.
National Burn Awareness Week is the perfect time to share this information, develop a fire escape plan, check your smoke alarms, and make your kitchen and entire home safe for those you care for where you live! According to McLeieer, “preventing a burn injury is always better than the pain and trauma of medical treatment afterward. For more information visit ameriburn.org/prevention/burn-awareness-week.
It’s #FirePreventionWeek! This year’s theme is Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety! ™ E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. president and founder firefighter Michael McLeieer talks to Ken Lanphear on the WKZO AM 590 and FM 106.9 Morning Show about this year’s theme and steps you and your family can take to prevent a home fire and stay safe.
Here is a link to the live interview on Monday October 4, 2021 at 6:50 a.m.:
The next stop of the day was in Grand Rapids on eightWest at WOOD TV 8 at the downtown Media Art Center Studio inside the Grand Rapids Art Museum at Rosa Park Circle.
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.
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!
‘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.
October is Fire Prevention Month but it’s important your family is prepared and stays safe all year long! The Keeping Michigan S.A.F.E.™ Installation Program has created a list of area smoke alarm and/or carbon monoxide alarm installation programs across West Michigan. Check it out below!
Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan (must live in Grand Rapids, Kentwood, or Wyoming and have a resident child 14 years of age or younger. Both tenants and owners are eligible) – 616-241-3300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home Township Fire Department (Edmore) – 989-427-3211
Blue Lake Township Fire Department – 231-288-9220
Casnovia Township Fire Department – 231-834-7066
Dalton Township Fire Department – 231-766-3277
Egelston Fire Department – 231-788-2254
Fruitport Township Fire Department – 231-773-9312
Holton Township Fire Department – 231-343-6861
Montague Fire District Authority – 231-893-3311
Moorland Township Fire Department – 231-769-9402
Muskegon Charter Township Fire Department – 231-773-4316
E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc., an award-winning fire safety organization is teaming up with AARP Michigan, WOTV 4 Women, the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®), First Alert®, the National Volunteer Fire Council and the Michigan fire service for Fire Prevention Week 2020. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!™ The campaign runs from October 4-10 and works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.
According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Almost half (44%) of reported home fires started in the kitchen. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. “Cooking fires are preventable,” said Firefighter Michael McLeieer, president and founder of the non-profit charity E.S.C.A.P.E. “It’s important that people stay in the kitchen when they are cooking, use a timer as a reminder when the food is done and avoid distractions such as electronics or televisions. These are some of the important steps everyone can take to keep families safe in their homes,” according to McLeieer.
A cooking fire can grow quickly. Each year many homes are damaged and people are injured by fires that could easily have been prevented.
E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. and AARP Michigan offer this recipe for Fire-Safe Cooking.
Keep an eye on what you fry. Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
Stand by your pan. If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
You have to be alert and awake when cooking. Alcohol and some drugs can make you sleepy.
Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flames. Turn off the burner and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so no one can bump them or pull them over.
Have a “kid-free and pet-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
To learn more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities Where You Live, please contact your local fire department. For more information about cooking fire prevention, visit www.nfpa.org/fpw or www.escapeinc.org.
As the temperatures cool down outside, you may want to start a fire in the fireplace or turn on the furnace to stay warm, but is your chimney ready to handle the heat?
National Chimney Safety Week 2020 is September 27 – October 3 and is designed to educate homeowners on the inherent dangers of fireplaces and provide them with tips to reduce their risk of suffering a chimney fire or carbon monoxide-related health emergency.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC), anaverage of 17,600 chimney fires occurred annually in the United States between 2015 and 2017, and although this represents a significant drop from previous years, the Chimney Safety Institute of America believes there’s still much room for improvement. CSIA’s vision is that every family enjoys a safe, warm home.
The Facts About Chimney Fires
Your chimney–and the flue that lines it–adds architectural interest to your home, but its’ real function is to carry dangerous flue gases from your fireplace, wood stove or furnace safely out of your home. As you relax in front of your fireplace or bask in the warmth of your wood stove, the last thing you are likely to be thinking about is the condition of your chimney. However, if you don’t give some thought to it before you light those winter fires, your enjoyment may be very short-lived.
Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, which damage structures, destroy homes and injure or kill people. Indications of a chimney fire have been described as creating: loud cracking and popping noise a lot of dense smoke, and an intense, hot smell Chimney fires can burn explosively – noisy and dramatic enough to be detected by neighbors or people passing by. Flames or dense smoke may shoot from the top of the chimney. Homeowners report being startled by a low rumbling sound that reminds them of a freight train or a low flying airplane. However, those are only the chimney fires you know about.
Chimney fires are preventable. When burning wood, only use dry, seasoned wood.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends chimneys be inspected annually and cleaned as-needed. Having your chimney inspected by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep before lighting your first fire of the season, is the number one way to prevent potential damage to your home or even the loss of life that may result from a damaged or blocked chimney.
E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety reminds you with more than 1,800 CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps located across the United States, it has never been easier to find one near you. To locate your nearest CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, visit www.csia.org/search and enter your zip code into the locator search tool.
The above link is the live audio from the August 4th radio interview at 9:10 a.m. between Firefighter Michael McLeieer, founder of E.S.C.A.P.E. and Ken Lanphear, WKZO Morning Show host.
A fire in an office or store can be devasting to a community. In addition to potential deaths and property loss, people may lose their jobs and the community may lose a vital service provided by the business.
The uncertain future caused by COVID-19 can also make the economic effect of a fire on a business much worse. Some businesses may have a hard time recovering financially after being shut down for several months due to the pandemic.
Every year in the United States there are 17,000 office and store fires that cause over $800 million in direct property damage.
33.2% of office and store fires were caused by cooking,
10.9% were due to electrical malfunction,
8.7% were due to heating,
7.6% were caused by other unintentional reasons or carelessness, and
7.1% were caused by appliances.
Many causes of office and store fires are the same as those for home fires. Since emergencies happen when we least expect them, prevention and escape planning is essential.
The good news: Modern building design and fire codes protect most offices and stores from fire. However, according to ESCAPE Fire Safety, there are important fire safety practices that employees and employers should follow to help prevent workplace fires, keep workers safe and keep offices and stores open.
Check for damaged electrical cords and cables. Don’t overload outlets and power strips.
Keep anything that can burn away from electrical equipment.
Never leave portable heating devices unattended.
Keep your workspace and equipment clean, dry and well ventilated.
Plan and practice multiple escape routes in case one is blocked.
Ensure windows can be opened and screens can be removed.
Remove any obstacles from exits.
Employers need to prepare for emergencies.
Make sure smoke alarms and fire sprinklers are properly installed and working.
Post clear fire escape plans on every level of a building.
Teach employees about exit locations, escape routes and fire protection equipment.
Check the condition of fire ladders and escapes.
Conduct regular emergency drills.
If there is a fire, building workers should:
Notify co-workers of the fire.
Never use the elevator if there is a fire or during a fire alarm activation. Walk, don’t run, down the stairs.