This family event combines safety with a whole lot of fun! Join E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire SafetyWOOD TV8’s Chief Meteorologist Bill Steffen and Jake the Fire Safety Dog for the 13th Annual Family Fire Safety Day on October 22nd from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Free nine volt batteries and smoke alarms will be available (while supplies last) and you can visit with Portage firefighters and tour their fire truck. If you need a smoke alarm installed in your owner occupied home, call toll free 1-844-978-4400 or email

Family Fire Safety Day
Saturday October 22nd – 10am – 2pm
Lowe’s in Portage – 5108 S. Westnedge Ave.


An Ottawa County fire chief has a warning for all West Michigan residents, after responding to multiple fires sparked by the same mistake.

“What we’ve been starting to see out here is the discarding of fire pit ashes into trash cans,” said Georgetown Township Fire Chief Dan Hamming.

Hamming said a July 23 fire that gutted a home on Briar Lane was one of eight blazes his department handled this year that was caused by ashes that were improperly disposed of.

“We had one resident say that I put my hand on it and it was cool,” Hamming recollected.

Ashes that appear cool on the surface can remain hot at their center.

“Those type of ashes can lay there dormant for 24, 36, to 48 hours,” explained Hamming.

Dumping those ashes into a garbage can made of a petroleum-based plastic and filled with other plastic and paper products is a recipe for fire. Since many homeowners keep their garbage cans in the garage or alongside their house, the fire has time to grow before a homeowner notices it.

Hot grills positioned close to a home also pose a risk; the radiant heat can ignite vinyl siding.

“What we want to do is get the word out to not only Georgetown Township residents, but to West Michigan: be careful with your fire pit, fireplace ashes,” advised Hamming.

The fire chief says the safest way to dispose of ashes is to dump them in a bucket filled with water and let the mix sit outside for a couple of days. Another method is to dig a hole and bury the ashes, Hamming said.


Fire Safety Online Resources:

National Fire Protection Association – Overall fire problem

National Fire Protection Association – Home grill fires


02-02-2016 WyomingFirePhoto

Michigan and Alabama lead the nation in deadly home fires, according to new data from the U.S Fire Administration.

Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 1, 19 Michigan residents lost their lives in house fires. Three of those deaths happened in West Michigan, including a 57-year-old woman who died in a house fire in Wyoming Saturday, a 77-year-old woman who died in a Muskegon house fireon Jan. 11, and a 9-year-old girl killed in a mobile home fire in Emmett Township on Jan. 10.

MI Map

However, the number of West Michigan home fire deaths is down 40 percent from last year, according to ESCAPE.

Fire departments have recorded at least a dozen instances where West Michigan residents have escaped a burning home because of a smoke alarm installed as part of WOTV 4 Women’s Operation Save A Life campaign.

>>LIST: West Michigan smoke detector installation programs

In 2015, a record 103 people lost their lives in Michigan house fires.

One of the biggest free parties in West Michigan returns for another summer on Thursday, June 25! Maranda is kicking off her 21st season of Maranda Park Parties at Lamar Park in Wyoming. Each Maranda Park Party is held from noon until 2 p.m. Everyone is invited and everything is free!

"We love Park Parties" sign at Wyoming Park Party, Lamar Park
“We love Park Parties” sign at Wyoming Park Party, Lamar Park – June 26, 2014

The Wyoming Park Party is bigger and better than ever with two brand new activities: a giant obstacle course and a Ferris wheel!  Lamar Park will be filled with more than 50 different vendors providing a variety of free services, information, and activities.

Kids can rock out with a house band or get a free haircut for summer provided by Grand Rapids First Church! E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety is celebrating 20 years of keeping kids safe with a new bounce house where families can come meet Jake the Fire Safety Dog. Also in Wyoming, the first 80 families who donate a bag of new or gently used items to the Bethany’s Thrift Store will receive an Entertainment Book.

Once again in working with USDA, Michigan Department of Education and local school districts, free lunch will be served to anyone 18 and under starting at 11:30 a.m., while supplies last. Every Park Party also includes free activities, games, entertainment and, of course, prizes!

This year Maranda and the Park Party team will be traveling to five communities bringing a supersized celebration to all.

  • June 25 – Lamar Park, Wyoming
  • July 9 – Berlin Raceway, Marne
  • July 16 – Kollen Park, Holland
  • July 23 – Smith Ryerson Park, Muskegon
  • July 30 – Northwestern Middle School, Battle Creek


Recent statistics show the number of fire-related deaths are on the rise in Michigan. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, from Jan. 1 to June 2, 2015 the number of fire deaths were up 25-percent from 2014. A total of 61 people died in fires across the state. Twenty-three of those deaths were in West Michigan which is a 48-percent increase over this same time last year.

Operation Save A Life is working to save lives by providing free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to fire departments in West Michigan where they will be installed in high risk homes by trained firefighters.

“We’re finding the majority of fire fatalities are occurring in homes that don’t have working smoke alarms,” said Michael McLeieer, program coordinator for Operation Save A Life.” We want to make sure that families have working smoke alarms.”

“Electrical fires seem to be one of the major issues behind this. Unsafe use of extension cords, things of that nature. Be attentive to anything you’re doing with the stove,” said Fire Marshall Ted Karnitz of the Norton Shores Fire Department.

Nearly 3,000 smoke alarms have been installed throughout Muskegon County since Jan. 1.

There will also be a big push for fire safety education at all five Maranda Park Parties this summer.

For a complete list of West Michigan smoke alarm installation programs, click here. If your community is not listed or you have questions about smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, or home fire safety, send an email to


This summer promises to be full of free family fun with a new schedule of Maranda Park Parties. Families are invited from across West Michigan!  E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety and Jake the Fire Safety Dog will be teaching fire safety at all of the Park Parties again this summer.

Maranda and the Park Party team are headed to five communities this year:.

  • June 25 – Lamar Park, Wyoming
  • July 9 – Berlin Raceway, Marne
  • July 16 – Kollen Park, Holland
  • July 23 – Smith Ryerson Park, Muskegon
  • July 30 – Northwestern Middle School, Battle Creek

Each Park Party is held from noon until 2 p.m. Free lunch is served to anyone 18 and under starting at 11:30 a.m., while supplies last. Every Park Party includes free activities, games, entertainment, and prizes! Everyone is invited and everything is free!

Follow updates about the Park Parties this year on social media using #MarandaParkParty!



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.