Interview with Firefighter Michael McLeieer, president and founder of E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. on the WKZO Morning Show – 11/24/2023 7:50 a.m.
When most people think about the holidays, family festivals and good cheer with friends likely come to mind. What few of us consider is that the holidays also present an increased risk of home fires. Home fires during the holiday season often involve Candles, Christmas trees, holiday decorations and lights. By taking some preventative steps, using common sense and following some simple rules, most home fires can be prevented during the holidays and beyond.
Candles are widely used in homes throughout the holidays; December is the peak month for home candle fires.
More than half of all candle fires start because the candles had been too close to things that could catch fire.
When burning candles, keep them at least 1-foot away from anything that can burn (create a 1-foot circle of safety), and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed.
Use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over and are placed on uncluttered surfaces. Avoid using candles in the bedroom, where two of five U.S. candle fires begin, or other areas where people may fall asleep.
Never leave a child or pets alone in a room with a burning candle.
Consider using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles.
Christmas Trees, Holiday Decorations and Lights
U.S. fire departments annually respond to an average of 250 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Nearly half of them are caused by electrical problems, and one in four resulted from a heat source that’s too close to the tree.
If you have an artificial tree, be sure it’s labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant. If you choose a fresh tree, make sure the green needles don’t fall off when touched; before placing it in the stand, cut 1-2” from the base of the trunk. Add water to the tree stand and be sure to water it daily.
Make sure your tree is not blocking an exit and is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, candles and heat vents or lights.
Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory, and make sure you know whether they are designed for indoor or outdoor use. Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
Plug decorations directly into outlets. Avoid using and overloading extension cords and power strips.
Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
Give the Gift of Safety – smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, escape ladders.
E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety reminds you by following these simple yet important safety tips, everyone in your family will have a “fire-safe” holiday season!
For more holiday fire safety tips, visit www.escapeinc.org or call toll free 1-844-978-4400.
Thanksgiving Day is a time to spend with family and friends. It’s also the peak day of the year for home fires. Michael McLeieer, president and founder of E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. spoke with Ken Lanphear on the WKZO Morning Show on Tuesday 11/21/2023 at 7:50 a.m. and shared several tips to prevent a home fire.
Now that the holidays are wraping up, it’s time to take some steps to keep you and your home fire-safe throughout 2021. Did you know 1 in every 7 home fires and 1 in every 5 home fire deaths involves heating equipment? Half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February.
Get rid of your real tree after Christmas or when it is dry. If the needles drop off, it’s time to properly dispose of your tree. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
Check with your local community to find a tree recycling program.
Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
With temperatures dropping, a roaring fire on a cold night may be great comfort and a real danger. Before bringing in the logs to fill the fireplace, keep this safety checklist in mind:
Have your chimney inspected and cleaned. An inspection by a certified chimney sweep will detect any repairs that are needed before you use the fireplace.
In August, Television personality Rachael Rae had a home fire which started from the fireplace.
When your ready to build a fire, burn seasoned wood only. Dryness of the wood is more important than how hard the wood is.
Burn smaller, hotter fires which produce less smoke than larger fires.
Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
Make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving your home.
Don’t use your fireplace to burn cardboard boxes, trash or used wrapping paper in your fireplace. Sparks from the burning paper can start chimney fires.
Remember to keep the flue open until the next day to make sure the fire is completely out. Always dispose of the ashes in a metal container with a lid, placed outside and at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings. Ashes can retain heat for several hours and even until the next day.
Close the flue after the fire is out to keep the warmth inside and the cold air outside.
As you stay cozy and warm this winter, stay fire smart! Heating is the second leading cause of home fires!
Plug only 1 heat-producing appliance (like a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.
Turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.
Keep anything that can burn (including kids) at least 3 feet away from any heat source.
Never use your oven or stove to heat your home.
Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan (2-ways out of every room). E.S.C.A.P.E. can connect anyone needing new smoke or carbon monoxide alarms with their local fire department. Call 1-844-978-4400 for more details.
Never block exits (doors and windows) with holiday decorations, luggage from your guests, boxes or other obstacles.
By following these simple tips, we all will contribute to Keeping Michigan S.A.F.E.™
NOTE: As of December 25th, 121 Michiganders have lost their lives in 100 fires throughout Michigan. Every county in Southwest Michigan has experienced a fatal fire in the past 2-years. The majority of deaths occurred in homes without working smoke alarms.
The 2020 fire death data resulted in a 21% increase during the same period in 2019 (Jan 1 – Dec 25).
May is National Electrical Safety Month and E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety wants to raise the public’s awareness about potential electrical home hazards and the importance of electrical safety. Practicing fire safety is especially important with more people staying home during Michigan’s Stay Home-Stay Safe executive order. Home fires have claimed the lives of 57 Michiganders since January 1st (a 46% increase over the same period – Jan 1 – May 1, 2019).
Look around for electrical hazards in your home and correct them. Items such as electrical cords under rugs or pinched behind furniture, overloaded outlets, and laptops and phones charging on beds or sofas can expose you and your family to the risk of fire.
According to the United States Fire Administration, electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of 485 Americans each year and injure 2,305 more. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) research indicates there are approximately 45,000 home electrical fires each year throughout the United States. Some of these fires are caused by electrical system failures and appliance defects, but many more are caused by the misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, incorrectly installed wiring, and overloaded circuits and extension cords. Half of all home electrical fires involve lighting equipment or home electrical wiring and most electrical wiring fires start in the bedroom. Home electrical fire deaths peak between midnight and 8:00 a.m.
The following are tips to assist you in preventing electrical fires:
Have a licensed electrician examine your electrical system every ten years. All electrical work should be done by a licensed electrician who has first obtained a permit when required. The permit process helps protect homeowners that the work is done correctly.
Inspect all extension cords. Discard any that are cracked or frayed and replace with new ones having a certification label from an independent testing laboratory. Never nail a cord or wire to the wall.
Cords should be used according to their ratings (indoor or outdoor use) and according to the power needs of the appliance that is being plugged in.
When unplugging any cord, do so by grasping the plug end. Do not pull on the cord as this over time can cause the cord to fail.
Make sure you have ground fault breakers installed in your bathroom and kitchen.
Keep hot irons and curling irons out of reach of small children.
When leaving laptop computers, iPads, and cell phones charging, have them on a solid surface such as a desk or countertop. Leaving them on a bed, couch or chair can cause them to overheat and catch the material on fire.
Potential Warning Signs and Hazards
Call your local fire department immediately if you have warning signs such as arcs, sparks, or short circuits. Other warning signs include hearing a sizzling or buzzing sound or a light smell of something burning. Immediate attention to these signs can save lives.
Call a professional electrician soon if you have any of these warning signs:
Frequently blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers;
Dim or flickering lights, bulbs that wear out too fast;
Overheated plugs, cords or switches;
Shock or mild tingle – more than normal static electricity;
Loose plugs; or unusually warm or faulty outlets or switches.
Everyone in your family should practice fire safety everyday because Fire Is Everyone’s Fight® Where You Live!
The COVID-19 Pandemic has and is creating new procedures for community First Responders.
In a statement from Fire Chief Dave Glotzbach, president of the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs and firefighter Michael McLeieer, president of the Michigan State Firemen’s Association, both say they continue to learn and adjust response procedures in their efforts to protect both citizens and personnel.
The two say they will continue monitoring the situation and make best practice adjustments as they move through this extended duration event.
These changes have many people asking what they should expect when they call 911 asking for assistance or reporting a medical emergency.
First responders say if you do experience the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 such as a dry cough, fever or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care physician and follow their instructions.
If you don’t have a primary care physician or you must call 911, please be accurate and honest so emergency responders can best take care of you, your family and your community.
Did you know the risk of dying in a home structure fire caused by smoking materials rises with age? Listen to these tips on WKZO radio from our founder Lt. Michael McLeieer, President of E.S.C.A.P.E. on ways to properly extinguish smoking materials and prevent a home fire!
Firefighter Michael McLeieer, founder of E.S.C.A.P.E. spoke with Ken Lanphear on the Morning Show on WKZO about fire safety during the holiday season. Our condolences go out to the family involved in the tragic fire in White Pigeon on December 4th as well as our friends from the White Pigeon Fire Department and the community!
National Burn Awareness Week is February 5 – 11, 2017. Please listen to some important burn prevention tips shared on WKZO AM 590 radio Monday morning February 6th at 9:10 a.m. by our founder Firefighter Michael McLeieer.
E.S.C.A.P.E.‘s President and Founder Firefighter Michael McLeieer talks with Jim McKinney on Kalamazoo’s Morning News on WKZO AM 590about this weekend’s time change. When we “fall back” 1 hour this weekend with our clocks, we should also replace the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to keep everyone safe!