Elliott Jones | Team Firestoppers Project Manager – (269-353-6180 ext. 7183)
Firefighter Michael McLeieer | E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety (269-492-3340)
Team Firestoppers of Southwest Michigan is a home fire (mitigation) project launched by the American Red Cross using AmeriCorps members. Its goal is to reduce the impact of fire incidents in high risk areas of our community by providing proactive awareness and education and increase preparedness for children and families.
- 7 times a day, someone in this country dies in a home fire.
- There are between 360,000 and 400,000 home fires reported each year in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
- Over the past 2 years, Michigan has seen its highest rate of civilian fire deaths not seen since 1999.
- Most of the homes where fire fatalities occurred, there were not working smoke alarms present.
- Working smoke alarms double the chances of surviving a dwelling fire.
- 62% of Americans believe they have at least five minutes to escape a burning home.
- FACT: A family may only have 2-3 minutes to escape a burning home and survive.
Some of the key components of the project include:
- Conducting a community risk assessment to determine which neighborhoods have experienced the greatest number of fires.
- Meet with families and review fire prevention information and provide a safety checklist.
- Work with families to create a written emergency escape plan that can be tailored to the individual’s home.
- Educate families and show them ways to eliminate risky behavior around fire.
What can you do to protect you and loved ones:
- Make sure there is a working smoke alarm on every level of the home and test them every month. (and replace the batteries at least once a year)
- Every household should develop a fire escape plan and practice it several times a year and at different times of the day.
- Include two ways to get out of every room and consider escape ladders for sleeping areas or homes on the second floor or above.
- Pick a place outside for everyone to meet and make sure everyone knows where it is.
- Practice that home fire drill until everyone in the household can do it in less than two minutes.