As the temps drop, the chance for a home fire increases.  In fact, heating is the #2 cause for home fires.  Firefighter Michael McLeieer from E.S.C.A.P.E. talks with Jeremy Lawrence on the AM 590 WKZO Morning Show this morning.

Michigan ranks #4 in the country for home fire deaths so far in 2015.  The most common factor in most fire fatalities were homes that did not have working smoke alarms.

Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a fire by as much as 60%.

Adults over 65 are TWICE as likely to die in a home fire and seniors over age 85 are FOUR times as likely to die in a home fire.

Here are some additional fire safety reminders to practice in the home:

Give space heaters space.  Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can catch fire (furniture, drapes, newspapers).  Unplug space heaters when you leave the room or you go to bed.

Smoke alarms save lives.  Install and maintain smoke alarms and batteries on every level of the home and inside and outside the sleeping areas.  Replace alarms which are older than 10 years in age and change the batteries twice a year (when the clocks are moved forward in the Spring or moved back in the Fall).

Keep older adults safe from fire.  Older adults, especially those with mobility issues, should consider sleeping on the main level of the home and near an exit, so rapid escape is possible during fire or smoke conditions.

For more information on fire safety, or learn how to obtain a free smoke alarm to be installed in your home, contact email at or call 1-877-707-1718.


Our media partner, WOOD TV 8, shares these portable generator safety tips, and other precautions from The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and United States Fire Administration to avoid home-heating fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during a blizzard.

The NFPA says home-heating equipment is the second-leading cause of U.S. home fires and home fire deaths.

“As everyone hunkers down during the storm, home heating systems will be kicking into high gear,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy, in a press release. “Using that equipment safely and properly is paramount to preventing fires and other hazards while riding out the storm.”

Unattended heating equipment, namely space heaters, is the leading cause of home heating fires, according to the NFPA. They say space heaters account for one-third of home-heating fires and four out of five of home-heating fire deaths.

Heating Safety

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment. This includes furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves and portable space heaters.
  • If there are children in your home, create a three-foot “kid-free zone” around space heaters and open fires.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • For fuel-burning space heaters, always use the right kind of fuel, as specified by the manufacturer.
  • Plug only one heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.
  • Remember to turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

  • Keep portable generators outside, away from windows, and as far away as possible from your home.
  • All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside of your home.
  • If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department or gas company.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
  • During and after the storm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • Test your carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they’re working properly.
  • If you begin to feel sick or dizzy while your generator is running, you may be breathing in carbon monoxide. Get to fresh air quickly.

Portable Generator Safety

  • Turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling; don’t refuel it while it’s running.
  • Make sure fuel, including gasoline and other flammable liquids, is stored in properly labeled safety containers. Place them outside all living areas and away from any fuel-burning appliances such as a gas hot water heater.
  • Always use extreme caution when operating electrical equipment in a damp or wet environment.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy duty outdoor-rated extension cord. Make sure the cord is free of cuts or tears, that the plug has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin. Do not try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet.

For more fire safety information, click here.



Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

One of the primary concerns is the winter weather’s ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize both the local neighborhood and an entire region.

The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “Deceptive Killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before, during and after it strikes.



Prevent Fires from Alternative Lighting, Heating and Cooking
Should families experience a power outage during or after the winter storm, a safer alternative is to use battery operated flashlights or lanterns instead of candles or other open flame. Never use a stove or oven as a heating source and never overload a fireplace, wood or pellet stove. Finally, always properly dispose of ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside away from the house, garage or deck. A single ash can retain heat for several days.



Portable Generator Safety during a Power Outage 

  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions before running a generator.
  • Engines emit carbon monoxide. Never use a portable generator inside your home, garage, crawl space, basement or other enclosed areas. Fatal fumes can build up, that neither a fan nor open doors and windows will provide enough fresh air.
  • Only use your generator outdoors, away from windows, vents or doors.
  • Test battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home at least monthly.
  • Gasoline and its vapors are extremely flammable. Turn off the portable generator and allow it to cool at least 2 minutes before refueling and always use fresh gasoline.
  • Store gasoline in an approved container, in a shed or detached garage away from the home. Never store gasoline in the home or an attached garage.
  • Never operate a portable generator near combustible materials.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy-duty, outdoor rated extension cord. Always uncoil extension cords and lay them flat in open locations since coiled cords get extremely hot and could cause a fire.
  • Never plug your generator directly into your home outlet to avoid “backfeeding” which can electrocute utility workers. If you are connecting a generator into your home electrical system, have a qualified, licensed electrician install a Power Transfer Switch.
  • Generators produce powerful voltage. Never operate under wet conditions and take precautions to protect your generator from exposure to rain and snow.



During and After the Storm
Clear snow from furnace, dryer vents, and hydrants. Keep outside furnace, hot water and dryer vents clear of drifting snow to prevent flue gases from backing up into the home and creating a carbon monoxide hazard.  Assist firefighters by clearing a three-foot radius around fire hydrants near your home.










Prevent Freezing Pipes
Let hot and cold water faucets drip a trickle to prevent pipes from freezing, and open cupboards under sinks to let heat circulate around the pipes.



Use Caution in Cold Temps
Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the tasks. Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.



Be a Good Neighbor
Check on elderly neighbors, people living alone, those with disabilities and homes with young children to see if they need extra supplies before or assistance after the storm.



For winter weather updates, visit Storm Team 8 online.

For additional Winter Storm Safety Tips, watch this Winter Safety Tips video from FEMA or go to



Each year, one in every three adults ages 65 or older falls and two million are treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries. The risk of falling increases with each decade of life. The long-term consequences of fall injuries, such as hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), can impact the health and independence of older adults. Thankfully, falls are not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, many falls can be prevented. Everyone can take actions to protect the older adults they care about.

Every 14 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury. Below are nine simple steps you can take today to make a big impact on falls for older adults and adults with disabilities in your community:

  1. Find a good balance and exercise program. Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for referrals. Find a program you like and take a friend.
  1. Talk to your health care provider. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls.
  1. Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed.
  1. Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.
  1. Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas.
  1. Talk to your family members. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue.
  1. Check shoes, boots, and assistive devices and be sure that they are “winterized.”
  1. Encourage older adults to carry a Ziploc bag filled with a lightweight kitty litter in their pocket and cast it out ahead of themselves on very slick surfaces.
  1. ‘Tis the season for gift giving! Encourage adult children to give fall-proofing holiday gifts to their parents:
  • Fall alarm systems that are motion triggered without hitting a button.
  • Higher toilets in the home.
  • Replace multifocal glasses with single vision eyeglass lenses.
  • Grab bars in bathroom and next to outside steps or inside thresholds.
  • Install firm stair railings on both sides of stairways and set automatic lights over stairways and by outside entrances.
  • Cover the entryway to the home and provide a table to set down bags while finding keys.
  • Give tiny flashlights to attach to keys, hats, and coat buttons. Shorter days mean more time in the dark.

We all want to protect our older family members and help them stay safe, secure, and independent where they live. Knowing how to reduce the risk of falling, a leading cause of injury, is a step toward this goal.

For more information on older adult safety, E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire and Safety would like you to visit the National Council on Aging or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.