This morning, our President and Founder Michael McLeieer of E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. spoke with Morning Show Host Ken Lanphear on WKZO AM 590 and FM 106.9 and shared various fire safety tips:

  • Have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Contact your local fire department or call 1-844-978-4400 if you need alarms
  • Create and practice a home escape plan
  • Keep space heaters at least 3-feet away from combustibles
  • Activate evacuation of all occupants from the fire or smoke-filled building and make sure 911 is notified before using a fire extinguisher

All of these tips will help to prevent home fires, injuries and deaths.



West Michigan has seen its share of snow and brutally cold weather this winter season and the threat of winter home fires and personal injury are real.  As you stay cozy and warm this winter season, be fire smart and use some common sense. 

Did you know home fires occur more in the winter months than any other time of the year?  Half of all home heating fires occur in the months of December, January and February.  According to the United States Fire Administration, heating is the second leading cause of home fires following cooking and more than 900 people die annually in winter home fires across the United States.  Home heating fires peaked in the early evening hours between 5 and 9 p.m.  This four-hour period accounted for 30 percent of all home heating fires.

Also, the risk of having a heart attack and stroke increases during the winter months due to overexertion when shoveling, pushing a car or walking in deep snow.  Take frequent breaks or ask a neighbor, family member or friend to shovel your driveway or sidewalk.

Here are some simple and important safety tips to help prevent winter home fires:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from all heat sources including fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, space heaters or candles.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home, especially during a power outage.
  • Turn space heaters off and unplug them when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Consider using flameless candles or battery powered flashlights if the power goes out.
  • Never use an extension cord or power strip with a space heater.  Always plug the device directly into a wall outlet and after 10 or 15 minutes of use, feel the cord and outlet.  If either are warm, discontinue use of the heater.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected each year by a licensed or certified professional.
  • Clear snow drifts from furnace exhausts and air intakes to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home.  Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and invisible gas produced from heating and cooking equipment, vehicles and portable generators.
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly, change non long-life batteries annually and replace alarms over 10 years old.
  • Help your local firefighters by shoveling a 3-foot circle of snow and ice away from the nearest fire hydrant.



And consider following these cold weather safety tips:

  • Check on your neighbors as well as family and friends who are at risk and may need additional assistance during this dangerous cold spell.
  • Watch pets closely and keep them indoors when possible. Animals can suffer from hypothermia, frostbite and other cold-weather injuries.
  • Be aware of children playing in the streets, particularly climbing on or running out from behind large snowdrifts. Parents should remind their children to be aware of plowing operations and traffic and avoid these dangerous areas.
  • Be aware of the hazards of wind chill.  As the winter wind speed increases and the outdoor temperature drops, heat is carried away from a person’s body more rapidly, which will lead to severe hypothermia.  Wind chill indices are forecasted to range from -22 to -48 degrees below zero Fahrenheit on Wednesday January 30th causing exposed skin to freeze in a matter of minutes.
  • Signs of hypothermia includes uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, drowsiness and exhaustion.
  • Signs of frostbite include loss of feeling or pale appearance of fingers, toes or the face.
  • Stay indoors if possible.  If you must go outside, wear protective clothing, such as hats, mittens, gloves, scarf and a warm coat.

By following these precautions, you will keep everyone in your family safe and secure Where You Live!


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



October is the month when fire departments across the country promote fire prevention education.  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 free 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

(Please note: event dates and times may be subject to change. Please check with your local fire department or event coordinator for more details).

Allegan County

Dorr Township Fire Department
5th Annual Dorr Twp. Fire Dept. Pancake Breakfast and Open House
4196 18th Street
Dorr, MI 49323
Saturday October 10, 2015
7:30 am – Noon

  • The pancake breakfast is to assist in the funding of the Dorr Township Fire Department Scholarship Fund.
  • Activities will include games for the children, silent auction for gift baskets, and tours of the apparatus.


Leighton Township Fire Department
Fire Safety Open House
At Leighton Township Library: 4451-12th Street
Wayland, MI 49348
Monday October 5, 2015
7pm – 8:30pm

  • Come out and meet the firefighters, look over the equipment.
  • Vanguard Fire Services will be doing a fire extinguisher demonstration/training.
  • Trooper Booms and his partner Pido of the Michigan State Police will be doing tracking demonstrations, and Allegan dispatch will have information on 911.
  • We will have information on smoke alarms, fire escape plans, home safety plans and other useful information.
  • Inflatables and other activities for the kids will be on location.
  • Hot dogs and refreshments will be available.


Saugatuck Township Fire District
18th Annual Fire Prevention Open House
3342 Blue Star Highway
Saugatuck, MI 49453
Sunday October 4, 2015
Noon – 3pm

  • Bring your family and friends to meet your Firefighters and First Responders.
  • Free chicken barbecue and hot dogs, fire truck display and smoke house.
  • Climb, play and learn about fire safety.
  • Dunk tank with firefighters, bungee run basketball, blood pressure checks, live Jaws of Life demonstration.
  • See a car get cut to pieces at 1pm.
  • Fire extinguisher training from Noon – 2pm (must be 18 years old to participate).
  • Fire extinguisher inspections (Free! Limit 2 per person or 2 per household).
  • Live burn fire sprinkler comparison. Two demonstration rooms set ablaze at 2:15 pm.
  • Electronic and household recycling – electronics includes anything with a plug or battery. (No large appliances or units containing freon). Household includes cardboard, glass, plastic bottles and pop cans.
  • American Red Cross Tent.
  • Allegan Co. Sheriff’s Marine Division.
  • Michigan State Police/Saugatuck Post.
  • Get to know your friends in public safety.


Wayland Fire Department
Fire Prevention Week Open House
160 West Superior Street
Wayland, MI 49348
Wednesday October 7, 2015
6pm – 8pm
Any questions feel free to call 269.792.6300

  • Kent County Sheriff Department Deputy Dale Dekorte, K-9 handler and his accelerant sniffing dog Ritzey will be conducting demonstrations.
  • Jake The Fire Safety Dog will be giving away prizes!
  • Fire prevention and safety handouts.
  • Free refreshments and cookies will be provided


Calhoun County

Battle Creek Fire Department
Fire Department Open House
Station #1, 195 East Michigan Avenue
Battle Creek, MI
Saturday October 10, 2015

  • Come join us for fun at the fire station.
  • There will be Station tours, viewing of fire apparatus’ s and an opportunity to meet you local firefighters.
  • Enjoy grilled hot dogs, chips, refreshments and watch the kids participate in our raffle drawing contest with lots of prizes.
  • You won’t want to miss the Big Prize in store for the last round , it’s an Epic One!
  • Full blast will also provide some entertainment as well.
  • Put this date in your calendar and we will see you there!
  • Call 269-966-3521 for more information.


Eaton County

Bellevue Community Fire Department
Fire Prevention Open House
115 East Jackson Street
Bellevue, MI 49021-1225
Sunday October 11, 2015
4pm – 6pm


Olivet Fire Department
Halloween Open House
117 East Street
Olivet, MI 49076
Saturday October 31, 2015
6pm – 8pm

  • Free cider and donuts, meet your Olivet Firefighters and tour the fire trucks. Meet Firepup and Jake the Fire Safety Dog!


Kalamazoo County

12th Annual Family Fire Safety Day
Lowe’s of Portage
Portage Department of Public Safety – Fire Division
E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety – WOOD TV 8 – WOTV 4
5108 South Westnedge Avenue
Portage, MI 49002
Saturday October 24, 2015
10am – 2pm

  • Meet WOOD TV 8’s Bill Steffen and Jake the Fire Safety Dog.
  • Free 9-volt batteries and smoke alarms will be available (while supplies last).
  • The E.S.C.A.P.E. Smoke Demonstration trailer will teach families how to be safe from fire.
  • Tour the Portage Public Safety Fire Engine, Life EMS Ambulance and learn about smoke alarms from Safe Kids of Kalamazoo County.
  • Free games and prizes for those who know the correct answers to the safety questions presented throughout the day.
  • Halloween costume contest begins at 11am with prizes.


Comstock Township Fire & Rescue
Fire Department Open House
Station #2
5947 East H Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Saturday October 3, 2015
11am – 2pm

  • Meet the firefighters, learn about a fire truck, use a thermal imaging camera, visit with Sparky™ and Friends, enjoy refreshments and win door prizes.


Kalamazoo City Department of Public Safety
Open House
Station 4/5
601 North Park Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Saturday October 10, 2015
Noon – 4pm


Kalamazoo Township Fire Department
Station #2 – Eastwood
75 Year Anniversary
2703 East Main Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Saturday October 3, 2015
11am – 3pm


Portage Department of Public Safety
Public Safety Open House
7830 Shaver Road
Portage, MI 49002
Saturday October 10, 2015
10am – 2pm

  • We will have crafts and games for the kids.
  • We will also have displays of the fire apparatus and equipment and there will be various demonstrations for fire safety.


Richland Township Fire Department
Fire Prevention Week Open House
7401 North 32nd Street
Richland, MI 49083
Saturday October 10, 2015
10am – 1pm


Texas Township Fire Department
Fire Prevention Week Open House
7110 West Q Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Saturday October 3, 2015
10am – 1pm


Kent County

Caledonia Fire Department
Caledonia Public Safety Open House
8192 Broadmoor Avenue
Caledonia, MI 49316
Saturday October 10, 2015
10am – 2pm

    • The Caledonia Fire Department is hosting its bi-annual Public Safety Open House at the fire station in Caledonia.
    • This is the 6th time this open house is being held and it is a very well attended event in the community.
    • This is held during fire prevention week and it is meant to not only showcase the safety vehicles that people see on the roads each day but it also stresses and teaches about fire safety preparedness to the attendees.
    • The entire department is there representing and talking to all who stop by.
    • Also participating are other partner agencies like the Kent County Sheriff Department, Life Ambulance, NOAA and Caledonia Kiwanis Club just to name a few.
    • The Kiwanis club sponsors a car seat check during the event in conjunction with Safe Kids Grand Rapids.
    • The fire department also conducts demonstrations of safety equipment like the Jaws of Life or a fire rescue simulation during the event.


Cannon Township Fire Department
Annual Pancake Breakfast and Open House
Donald E. Goodell Fire Station #2
6878 Belding Road
Rockford, MI 49341
Saturday October 3, 2015
8:00 am – 10:30 am

  • Serving: Pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice and coffee
  • Donations accepted with all the proceeds going to the Great Lakes Burn Camp which helps children who have been victimized by fire.
  • Building tours, meet firefighters and see all the fire trucks


Grandville Fire Department
Fire Department Open House
3215 Wilson Avenue
Grandville, MI 49418
Tuesday October 6, 2015
6pm – 8pm

  • Learn fire safety and CPR.
  • Meet the firefighters, police officers and paramedics.
  • See the fire trucks, police cars and an ambulance.
  • Meet Sparky® the Fire Dog.
  • Enjoy cookies, popcorn and drinks.


John Ball Zoo Goes Boo
E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety / Grand Rapids Fire Department
1300 West Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49501
Saturday October 17, 2015
10am – 3pm

  • Meet Jake The Fire Safety Dog and visit with your local Grand Rapids Firefighters.
  • Take a tour of their fire trucks and learn how to Be Fire Smart inside the E.S.C.A.P.E. fire safety trailer.


Plainfield Fire Department
and Lowe’s Home Improvement
Fire Safety and Education Day
At Lowe’s – 4297 Plainfield Avenue, NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Saturday October 10, 2015
10am – 1pm

  • Fire safety and injury prevention material available to handout.
  • Vehicle extrication demonstration and other activities for children and families.


Sparta Fire Department
Halloween Open House
36 Elmwood Street
Sparta, MI 49345
Saturday October 31, 2015
11am – 2pm

  • There will be an Open House and games at the fire station.


Walker Fire Department
Fire Prevention Open House
4101 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Walker, MI 49534
Monday October 5, 2015
6pm – 8pm

  • Activities will include tours of the fire station and apparatus.
  • Home fire safety information and packets will be distributed to attendees.
  • Nozzle the Clown will deliver a fire safety presentation.
  • There will be free smoke alarms available for those who visit with an emphasis on Walker firefighters installing them for Walker residents.


Muskegon County

Casnovia Township Fire Department
Fire Department Open House
17569 Bailey Road
Bailey, MI 49303
Saturday October 17, 2015
4pm – 6pm


Dalton Township Fire Department
Dalton Township Open House
1650 E. Riley Thompson Road
Muskegon, MI 49445
Wednesday October 14, 2015
6pm – 8pm

  • Free food (Hot dogs, chips, and drinks).
  • Fire truck rides, bounce house, fire extinguisher trainer, 911 demonstration, spray house, vehicle extrication demonstration and “touch-a-truck”


Muskegon Fire Department
Fire Prevention Week Open House
Central Station – 770 Terrace Street
(next to Hot Rod Harley)
Muskegon, MI 49440
Sunday September 27, 2015
2pm – 4pm

  • Food and refreshments.
  • Station tours, fire extinguisher training, fire safety house, bounce house, Safebuilt of Muskegon, static displays, several vendors, and viewing of newly arrived fire engine.
  • Fire prevention material give-a-ways, viewing of fire safety videos in the theatre and 911 dispatch activities for kids.


Muskegon Township / North Muskegon Fire Departments
Fire Prevention Open House
Muskegon Township Fire Station #2
1699 North Getty Street
Muskegon, MI 49445
Thursday October 1, 2015
6pm – 8pm

(Additional parking available across the street at Meijer’s)

  • There will be a static display of fire department equipment.
  • Attendees will be able to spray a model house with water.
  • Other activities include: Smoke house, burn cells-showing the operation of smoke alarms and a sprinkled building vs. an un-sprinkled building, Vehicle extrication demo, Firefighter recruitment, Muskegon County 911, Pro Med Ambulance, Red Cross booth, Safe Kids.


Norton Shores Fire Department
Fire Prevention and Public Safety Open House
1100 East Pontaluna Road
Norton Shores, MI 49444
Saturday September 26, 2015
10am – 3pm

  • Featured appearances and activities include: Michigan State Police, fire extinguisher training, kids activities, fire truck rides, drawings and prizes to win a boys and girls bicycle.


Ottawa County

Crockery Township Fire Department
Fire Prevention Open House
16875 Main Street
Nunica, MI 49448
Monday September 28, 2015
6pm – 8pm


Georgetown Charter Township Fire Department
Fire Prevention Open House
Fire Station #1
1415 44th Street
Jenison, MI 49428
(Corner of 14th Avenue & 44th Street)
Thursday October 8, 2015
6pm – 8pm



September is National Preparedness Month

More than 3,400 Americans die each year across the country in fires and approximately 17,500 are injured.  An overwhelming number of these fires occur in the home.  There are time-tested ways to prevent and survive a fire.  It’s not a question of luck.  It’s a matter of planning ahead.

In the event of a home fire, every second counts.  September is National Preparedness Month and the United States Fire Administration and E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire & Safety offer these tips to keep you and your family safe.


Have Two Ways Out

  • Plan and practice home fire drills as a family.
  • Draw a map of each level of your home showing all doors and windows.
  • Discuss the map with everyone who lives with you.
  • Practice your home fire drills at least twice a year.
  • Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily.
  • Push the smoke alarm button to start the fire drill.
  • Try feeling your way in the dark or with your eyes closed.
  • Have at least two ways out of every room. If your first way out is blocked by fire or smoke, you can use your second way out.
  • If there is smoke, get low and go. Crawl quickly under the smoke to your nearest exit.
  • Close doors behind you and gather at a preplanned outside meeting place where firefighters and first responders can see you.
  • Remember to Get Out and Stay Out.
  • Never go back inside for people, pets or things.

Finally, keep your escape plan posted on the refrigerator so everyone in your home, including guests, know what to do and where to go during fire or smoke conditions.  Taking a few minutes now to be prepared might mean the difference between life or death for you and your family Where You Live!

It was a beautiful day to Walk the Zoo at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids Michigan with Maranda, Priority Health and Jake The Fire Safety Dog. Over 100 children and families had a fantastic day of fun while learning how be active and stay healthy.

IMG_6278  IMG_6252 

  IMG_6270  IMG_6273


Another highlight of the morning was presenting Maranda with a letter of appreciation from the United States Fire Administration.  She was congratulated on the 20th anniversary of providing families with free fun at Park Parties and for launching and promoting the Fire Is Everyone’s Fight (tm) national fire safety campaign over the past two years here in West Michigan.








As summer draws to a close, it’s time to head back to school, meet new friends and say hello to fall.  Just like teachers, books, and homework go together with the new school year, safety education should be a priority for every family.

The National Fire Protection Association and E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire & Safety offer these tips to play it safe!

bus Bus Safety

While waiting for the bus, take five giant steps back from the curb until the bus has stopped completely.

  • Inside the bus, stay seated at all times.
  • Keep your arms, hands and head inside the bus.
  • Never throw anything about of the bus window.
  • Always hold on the bus handrails when you are getting on or off the bus so you don’t fall.
  • Be careful that clothing, book bags, and key rings don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.
  • When exiting the bus, go to the closest sidewalk or side of the road and take five giant steps away from the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver.  If you bend over to pick it up, the bus driver may not be able to see you.

walk Safely Walking to School

Children under age 10 should never cross a street without a grown-up.

  • Choose a safe route to school.  Look for the most direct route with the fewest street crossings.
  • When crossing the street, stop at the curb or edge of the road.
  • Look left, then right, then left again for moving cars before crossing.
  • Keep looking left and right until you are safely across the street – and remember to walk, not run.
  • Follow all traffic signals and markings.
  • Don’t enter the street from between parked cars or from behind bushes or shrubs.  Drivers might not be able to see you.
  • Never wear head phones or talk on a cell phone when crossing the street.

bike  Bicycle Safety

If you are old enough to ride alone, plan a safe route to school and have a grown-up ride with you the first few times.

  • Children under 10 shouldn’t ride on the road without a grown-up.
  • Be sure that your helmet fits.  It should sit even on top of the head – not rocking in any direction – and always fasten the safety strap.
  • Learn the proper hand signals and use them when you turn or stop.
  • Walk, do not ride your bike across the street.
  • Come to a complete stop before entering driveways, paths, or sidewalks, then look left, right and left again for bikes, cars or pedestrians heading your way.
  • Do not ride at night.

car  Car Safety

If you are riding to school in a car, the safest place to be if you are 12 years old or younger is in the back seat buckled up safely.  Remember, you should be in a booster seat until you are eight years old and 80 pounds.

firedrillFire Safety

And last, but not least, this is a great time to review and practice your home fire escape plan and prepare children for the first fire drill of the new school year.

When the fire alarm activates:

  • Stop what you are doing and immediately exit the building. Remain quiet and listen for further instructions from a teacher or over the public address system.
  • Once you are outside, go quickly to your meeting place for roll call.
  • Always know 2 ways out of any room (like a door and window) in case one exit is blocked by smoke or fire.
  • Never go back inside – Get Out and Stay Out.

The #1 item students need when they return to school is an abundance of safety knowledge. It is important for parents to stay up-to-date on the proper safety precautions and share this information with children to keep them safe at home, the mall, library or school throughout the year.

It’s fun and natural to enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities in the summer.  However, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin and eyes in as little as 15 minutes. Keep in mind the sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Following these recommendations will help protect yourself and your family during these warm, sunny days in West Michigan.


You can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter before you need relief from the sun. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside – even when you’re in the shade.


When possible, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. Some clothing certified under international standards comes with information on its ultraviolet protection factor. If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, at least try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Keep in mind that a typical T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15, so use other types of protection as well.


For the most protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. A tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection. If you wear a baseball cap, you should also protect your ears and the back of your neck by wearing clothing that covers those areas, using sunscreen with at least SPF 15, or by staying in the shade.


Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection.  Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side. Stop by one of Maranda’s Park Parties for a limited supply of a free pair of sunglasses courtesy of Jake The Fire Safety Dog and E.S.C.A.P.E.

Jake The Fire Safety Dog is protected from UV rays from the sun!

Jake The Fire Safety Dog is protected from the UV rays of the sun!


Put on sunscreen before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. Remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options to prevent UV damage.

How sunscreen works

Most sun protection products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. All products do not have the same ingredients; if your skin reacts badly to one product, try another one or call a doctor.

  • SPF: Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a sunscreen with at least SPF 15.
  • Reapplication: Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
  • Expiration date: Check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.
  • Cosmetics: Some makeup and lip balms contain some of the same chemicals used in sunscreens. If they do not have at least SPF 15, don’t use them by themselves.


Kids spend a lot of time outdoors, often in and out of water. When selecting sunscreen for their children, parents and caregivers should look for products that are broad spectrum, water resistant for 80 minutes, and always follow re-application instructions. It is recommended that kids use a secondary form of protection such as long sleeve shirts or hats.

By taking some simple actions, you and your family will stay safe and have fun in the summer sun, Where You Live!