Governor Rick Snyder has proclaimed October 9-15 as Fire Prevention Week.
This year's theme is "Don't Wait: Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years." Smoke alarms don't last forever and must be replaced according to the manufacturer's specifications, when not responding properly or at a minimum of every 10 years. Home fire safety starts with having working smoke alarms that drastically reduce the risk of dying in home fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three of every five home fire deaths in the United States result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Last year, home fires in Michigan killed more than 104 citizens, and according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, fire departments throughout the state responded to nearly 13,583 home fires in 2015.
One of the best ways to keep your family safe is to prepared for a real emergency. Tips to keep in mind when developing a home fire escape plan include:
Draw a map of each level of your home and show all doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Know the safest exit route.
Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily and that every family member understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked windows and doors.
Learn how to escape from windows. If your windows or doors have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately.
If someone in the home has access or functional needs such as infants, older adults or people with a mobility disability, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a back-up in case that person is absent from the home.
Practice checking the doors for smoke. If you see smoke, do not open the door. If you touch the door and it is hot, do not open the door. If the door is cool enough to open, open doors slowly and put your head down and tilt your face away from the opening. Close doors behind you to slow the flow of oxygen to the fire and give you time to escape.
Practice crawling low. In a fire, smoke and poisonous air hurt more people than the actual flames. Staying low means you can crawl below the smoke.
Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet once they have escaped. Never go back into a burning home for any reason. If someone is missing, inform the fire department or dispatcher when you call.
Make sure everyone in your home knows how to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
For more information about preventing fires and staying safe, go to the NFPA official Fire Prevention Week website at http://www.nfpa.org/fpw. You can also visit the Bureau of Fire Services website at http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-42271---,00.html for more fire safety information.