“Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”
Michiganders are urged to look for places fire could start in their homes and fix any potential fire hazards; listen for the sound of the smoke alarm, and learn two ways out of every room by developing and practicing a home escape plan.
“We’re working to educate people about how to reduce the likelihood of having a fire in the first place, and if they do have a house fire how to escape safely, “said State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer.
“This includes having working smoke alarms on each level of their home to provide early notification and then exiting quickly can literally make the difference between life and death. In many instances there’s a much smaller window of time for people to escape a home fire safely – as little as one or two minutes from the time the smoke alarm sounds -- largely due to more plastics and furnishing burning faster, producing large amounts of toxic gases and smoke. Knowing two ways out of every room will help people use that small window of time wisely to escape fire, Sehlmeyer said. //
Tips to make a home more fire-safe:
*Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and inside every sleeping area. Check them every month by pushing the test button.
*Never smoke in bed. Keep lighters and cigarettes away from children.
*Never leave cooking unattended. Keep stoves and burners clean and free of grease to avoid the potential for a small kitchen fire that can get out of hand quickly.
*Never leave candles unattended. Place them in sturdy holders on uncluttered surfaces at least a foot away from anything that can burn; curtains, bedding, furniture, carpeting.
*Have fireplaces, chimneys, and both wood and coal stoves inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.
*Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended.
*Use caution when using space heaters. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn and place them on a hard-nonflammable surface. Never leave them unattended.
*Replace frayed extension cords; do not overload extension cords. Plug only one heat-producing appliance into an outlet at time. Plug major appliances directly into a wall receptacle.
*Keep clothes and other items three feet away for your gas water heater that can ignite items when the water heater comes on.
*Clean the dryer lint screen after each load as lint is extremely flammable.
*Have a fire extinguisher in the home and know how to use it.
*Develop and practice a home fire escape plan that the entire family knows that includes two ways out of every room.
*Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
*Sleep with bedroom doors closed to limit fire spread. Closing the door can save lives by reducing toxic smoke levels and slowing down the spread of fire and smoke into sleeping areas.
*Make sure you close doors behind you as you escape a fire.
“Fire can happen to you,” Sehlmeyer emphasized. “With a few practical and essential preventive measures, people can eliminate fire hazards in their home, and be better prepared to expect the unexpected if a fire occurs in their home.”
For more on preventing fires and staying safe: www.firepreventionweek.org.
For more on fire safety: www.michigan.gov/bfs.