Listen to the live radio interview with Firefighter Michael McLeieer, president and founder of E.S.C.A.P.E. at 7:50 a.m. on Tuesday June 28, 2022 on the WKZO AM 590 and FM 106.9 morning show with Ken Lanphear.

Watch this live report on WLNS 6 News in Lansing during the morning broadcast on Wednesday 06/29/2022.

Watch this live broadcast on WXMI FOX 17 in studio in Grand Rapids during the morning broadcast on Wednesday 06/29/2022 at 8:50 a.m.

 

Whether you are heading out to the campsite, traveling cross-country over the 4th of July holiday or living in a recreational vehicle (RV), it’s important to know about fire and carbon monoxide (CO) hazards present in these movable structures.

In fact since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, the purchase and use of recreational vehicles has increased significantly.  There was approximately a 7% increase in new campers in the U.S. during 2020.  People changed their plans to fly or travel abroad and chose to either rent or purchase an RV and go out and explore the outdoors through camping.

Recreational vehicle fires

According to the United States Fire Administration, from 2018 to 2020, there were an estimated average of 4,200 RV fires reported to U.S. fire departments each year.  These fires resulted in approximately 15 deaths, 125 injuries and $60,300,000 in property loss.

According to the National Park Service:

  • Recreational vehicles include everything from folding camping trailers to truck campers to luxury motor homes.
  • Eight million U.S. households own at least one RV.
  • RVs travel an average of 4,500 miles each year.

Most RV fires occur:

  • Between the hours of 2 and 3 p.m.
  • During the months of May through August.  July is the peak month.
  • On Fridays and Saturdays.

Carbon Monoxide in recreational vehicles

CO is an odorless, tasteless, invisible killer that can readily build up within the small area of an RV and cause severe illness and possibly death.  Improper use of generators is a leading cause of CO poisoning.  Malfunctioning gas-fed appliances are an additional source of CO poisoning.

E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety shares these life-saving tips for the RV user

  • Check propane supply lines for kinks or damage. Test all fitting connections with a gas leak detection device.
  • Turn off propane at the tank and turn off all propane-powered appliances while driving.  If you have an accident or tire blowout while the propane is on, your injury and the damage to your vehicle can be significantly worse.
  • Make sure generator exhaust is pointed away and downwind of the RV.
  • Stay in the cooking area when preparing food. If you leave, turn off the burner.
  • Have a portable fire extinguisher on board that you can easily reach. Adults should take a brief training course on how to properly use an extinguisher. Remember the acronym P.A.S.S. — Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep.
  • Keep doors and windows clear for escape and make sure they open easily. Practice a fire escape plan with everyone staying in the RV.
  • Don’t overload the electrical outlets. Using too many electrical appliances at the same time can cause a fire.
  • Have a trained technician thoroughly inspect your RV at least once a year.


The above link is from the live interview with E.S.C.A.P.E.’s president and founder Michael McLeieer on the WKZO AM 590 and FM 106.9 Morning Show – 05/26/2022 at 7:10 a.m.


The above link is from the live interview on the FOX 17 – WXMI Morning Show at 7:40 a.m. 05/27/2022


The above link is from the interview on 6 News – WLNS at 5pm on 05/27/2022

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff weekend to the start of summertime fun.  If your weekend plans include grilling, sitting around the campfire or other outdoor celebrations, here are some important tips to keep you and your family safe!

Campfire Safety

Having a campfire can be one of the greatest joys of summer.  Whether roasting marshmallows, cooking a meal or surrounded by family and friends, it’s important to understand how to stay safe around a campfire.

  • Select an appropriate location. Before creating a campfire, make sure you understand any rules or regulations for your area. Avoid building the fire near low-hanging branches, tree roots, structures, and other flammable items. Try to choose a location where your fire will be sheltered from the wind and use campfire rings or other designated campfire accessories whenever possible.

 

  • Use the appropriate campfire fuel. Soft woods like pine, fir, and cedar are best for starting a fire. Start the fire by building a small teepee of dry sticks and igniting it with a match. As the fire gets started, add larger pieces of wood. Remember to keep the fire small. Don’t burn items that may explode or give off toxic fumes. Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids to start a campfire.  Never throw items into a fire. That includes batteries, plastic bags, glass, and aluminum cans.

         CHARCOAL GRILLS:

    • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
    • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
    • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
    • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
    • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

         PROPANE GRILLS:

    • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
    • Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose.  A propane leak will release bubbles.
    • If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill.  If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.  If the leak does not stop, call 911.
    • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call 911.  Do not move the grill.
    • If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.
  • Supervise the campfire area continuously. A responsible adult should always be present while a campfire is burning. Encourage small children and pets to stay seated several feet away from the fire. Extinguished campfire areas should still be monitored after the flames have gone out to make sure the campfire does not re-ignite and to make sure that children are not burned by embers, which still retain heat even after the fire is extinguished.

 

  • Completely extinguish the campfire. A roaring fire is both a success, and a responsibility. It is your job to properly maintain and extinguish your campfire when you are finished. Make sure you always have a large bucket of water and metal shovel on hand to put out the fire. Pour lots of water on the fire, drown all embers, not just the red ones, until the hissing sound stops. Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel and pour more water on the ashes, then feel the area to make sure they are cold to the touch.

 

Grilling Safety

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 20,000 people across the United States went to the hospital due to grilling-related injuries from 2014 to 2018.  Grills were involved in nearly 4,000 structure fires in that time.  Seven out of every ten adults in the United States have a grill or smoker, which translates to a lot of tasty meals.  But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires and thermal burns.  A grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard.  Remember:

  • Propane and charcoal barbeque grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed at least 10 feet away from your home or anything that can burn including deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in the trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

CHARCOAL GRILLS:

  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

 

PROPANE GRILLS:

  • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
  • Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose.  A propane leak will release bubbles.
  • If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill.  If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.  If the leak does not stop, call 911.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call 911.  Do not move the grill.
  • If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.

 

 

Burn Safety

  • To reduce the risk of a burn, never leave items cooking on the stove or grill unattended.
  • Keep children and pets at least 3-feet from the grilling or cooking area.
  • Check the temperature of food before serving it to a child.
  • Never cook while wearing loose fitting clothes.
  • Cool a superficial or partial thickness burn (1st or 2nd degree) with cool running water for 15-20 minutes.  Never cool more than 10% of the body at one time.
  • Seek medical attention for all severe 2nd degree and all third degree (full-thickness) burns.

E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety reminds you that Memorial Day weekend activities are more fun when you know that your kids and family are safe and secure because Fire Is Everyone’s Fight®!

 



Live Interview on WKZO AM 590 and FM 106.9 with our president and founder Firefighter Michael McLeieer – 7:50 a.m. EDT 05/02/2022

Arson Awareness Week 2022 is May 1-7 and it highlights critical actions that emergency responders and the public must take to help ensure everyone stays safe all throughout the year.

The dangers of arson put everyone’s life in peril.  Innocent bystanders, occupants, first responders, and those committing the acts of arson all have a chance to receive debilitating injuries or worse.  The aftermath of these intentional acts can create a devasting fiscal loss for communities.

This year’s theme is Arson in Homeless Communities – Engagement – Education – Outreach.  It’s a great opportunity for numerous stakeholders to join together to combat the issue of vacant residence fires and find solutions for the growing homeless problem as well as develop fire prevention programs within the homeless community.

The focus will be on:

  • Explaining common motives for arson fires in homeless communities
  • Addressing accidental incidents of fire
  • Highlighting injury and incident statistics
  • Identifying resources and training opportunities to help the fire service create outreach strategies and programs.
  • Showcasing successful mitigation concepts throughout the United States

What is Arson? – ARSON IS THE CRIMINAL ACT OF DELIBERATELY SETTING FIRE TO PROPERTY.  (The willful, malicious, intentional and/or reckless burning of your property (dwelling) or someone else’s).

 What can you do?  If you see something, say something.  Call 911.

  • Keep an eye on your property and your neighbor’s property
  • Report anything suspicious
  • Lock vehicles, garages, barns and other out buildings

For more information about arson and ways to prevent arson, visit the United States Fire Administration’s website at www.usfa.fema.gov/aaw

 



Burning Issues in the Kitchen…Watch What You Heat

The smell of a cake baking in the oven or a tasty soup simmering on the stovetop is difficult for both children and adults to resist.  However, cooking remains the number one cause of home fires in Michigan and across the United States.

That’s why National Burn Awareness Week, observed the first full week in February, is a window of opportunity for organizations to mobilize burn, fire and life safety educators and unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in the community Where You Live.

“47% of all home fires are caused by cooking.  Adults over 65 are at a much higher risk of injury or death from a kitchen fire due to physical, visual, hearing or mental impairments that may slow the quick action necessary in a fire emergency,” according to Firefighter Michael McLeieer, president and founder of the non-profit fire safety charity E.S.C.A.P.E.  Inc.

“Thinner skin of older adults burns faster and deeper,” according to McLeieer.

Here are some tips to stay safe and prepared!

Plan A:  Primary Prevention

  • The best time to cook is when you are wide awake and not drowsy from medications or alcohol.
  • Always wipe clean the stove, oven, and exhaust fan to prevent grease buildup.
  • Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking.
  • Keep a pan lid and dry potholders or oven mitts near you EVERY time you cook.
  • Turn pot or pan handles toward the back of the stove.
  • When heating food in the microwave, use microwave-safe cookware that allows steam to escape.
  • Allow food to rest before removing from the microwave.
  • When frying, use a pan lid or splash guard to prevent grease splatter.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food.  If you leave, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or broiling food, check it regularly.  Remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you to check on your cooking.
  • After cooking, check the kitchen to make sure all burners and other appliances are turned off.
  • Never use the oven for storage.

Plan B:  Secondary Prevention

If your food does catch on fire…

  1. Cover the pan with its lid.  A cookie sheet works too.  Leave covered until the pan is cool.  NEVER move the pot or carry it outside – the pot is too hot to handle and the contents may splash, causing a severe burn.
  2. Turn the heat off.  With the lid on and the heat off, the fire should quickly put itself out.  NEVER use water to put out a kitchen fire.  Water will cause the oil to splatter and spread the fire, or scald you as it vaporizes.
  3. If the fire is inside the oven or microwave, keep the door shut and turn it off.  Keep closed until the oven is cool.
  4. If the fire gets out of control- get out, stay out and call 9-1-1.  Don’t return inside for any reason.

National Burn Awareness Week is the perfect time to share this information, develop a fire escape plan, check your smoke alarms, and make your kitchen and entire home safe for those you care for where you live!  According to McLeieer, “preventing a burn injury is always better than the pain and trauma of medical treatment afterward.  For more information visit ameriburn.org/prevention/burn-awareness-week.



Space heaters are often viewed as a way to cut down on the heating bill and ad warmth to any room.

But some users of these heaters are oblivious to the dangers that may loom if they aren’t used properly.

E.S.C.A.P.E.‘s founder / president and former president of the Michigan State Firemen’s Association and 20 year fire safety veteran Michael McLeieer, tells WBKB 11 in Alpena why space heaters should be used sparingly.

“If space heaters are used as a primary heating source that puts our family at risk because those space heaters can overload, or if those space heaters are left on when we’re not at home, a fire could occur.”

Nearly two thirds of winter house fires are caused by heating homes improperly.

Here are McLeieer’s tips to ensure your space heater is not a fire safety hazard.

“Space heaters need space, they need at least three feet of space from anything that can catch fire, that could be clothing, that could be our furniture, and as we have now the winter weather before us, we want to make sure that people aren’t putting gloves or things like that to dry on the space heater because that’s a way that could catch those items on fire.”

Space heaters should never be left unattended under any circumstance.



It’s #FirePreventionWeek!  This year’s theme is Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety! ™  E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. president and founder firefighter Michael McLeieer talks to Ken Lanphear on the WKZO AM 590 and FM 106.9 Morning Show about this year’s theme and steps you and your family can take to prevent a home fire and stay safe.

Here is a link to the live interview on Monday October 4, 2021 at 6:50 a.m.:

 

The next stop of the day was in Grand Rapids on eightWest at WOOD TV 8 at the downtown Media Art Center Studio inside the Grand Rapids Art Museum at Rosa Park Circle.

Here is the link to that broadcast:

 



Fire Prevention Week 2021 Contest

Fire Prevention Week 2021 is October 3 – 9 and we have a fun way to celebrate together!

Post a photo or video of your favorite fire safety action or slogan now through October 9th to Jake The Fire Dog’s social media pages (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) and use #MISAFE as the hashtag.  Examples include drawing a slogan (Get Out and Stay Out, Know Two Ways Out of Every Room, Close your bedroom door before you go to sleep) or posting a photo of your family drawing and practicing your home escape plan, going outside to the meeting place…a tree, a neighbor’s house, a sidewalk, or your outside safe meeting spot) or creating your own message that will encourage others to take proactive steps to prevent a home fire and stay safe!

Here is a free template to download and draw your home fire escape map!  Home Escape Map WOTV

We will select a few entries and award fun prizes to the winners!

Hurry, the contest ends on October 9th!

 

 

 





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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.

KZO LOGO

Here is the link to the live radio interview with E.S.C.A.P.E.‘s founder Michael McLeieer on December 28th at 7:50 am on WKZO AM 590 and FM 106.9.

After Christmas:

  • 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.

ChristmasTree

Fireplace Safety:

  • 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.

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Heating Safety:

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.

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Post-Holiday Entertaining:

  • 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.

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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).