Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Families urged to set up and practice a 2-minute escape plan
Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
October 12, 2018 - We do six fire drills each year at school and even in the workplace. It’s now time to do them at home, urged State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer, who today asks all Michigan residents to set up and practice a home fire escape plan, and confirm that they have working smoke alarms to cut their risk of dying in a home fire in half. Home Fire Drill Day is Saturday, October 13, 2018.
“With home fires burning faster than ever, your home escape plan should take under two minutes,” said Sehlmeyer. “Practice with a stopwatch to know your time and what you need to improve on. Practice the drill during two-minute commercial breaks on TV. Can your family get from the TV to the designated safe space outside your home in under two minutes?”
A home fire happens every 86 seconds, yet half of parents say their kids wouldn’t know what to do if their smoke alarm went off. On average, seven people die every day from home fires, which take more lives each year than all other natural disasters combined in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
“The overwhelming majority of fire deaths in Michigan happen overnight,” said Sehlmeyer. “Practice and keep practicing the drill at different times of the day, and especially at night until everyone can get out of the house in the dark in two minutes or less. Know and practice two ways out of every room. Practice your home fire drill twice a year.”
Sehlmeyer said it’s also important to identify a safe spot outside the house for all to gather in case of fire. “Make sure the kids know that when that smoke alarm is beeping that they need to get out of the house quickly and meet at that safe spot. Never go back into a house on fire,” said Sehlmeyer.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home including your basement and each sleeping area / bedroom. If someone living in the home is deaf or hard of hearing, there are smoke alarms that use light and vibration to signal a fire. Install alarms that are inter-connected to each other, so when one alarm sounds, the others do, too. Test your smoke alarms every month by pushing the test button with the kids so they know the sound. Replace smoke alarm batteries every year, and replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
“Fire can happen to you,” Sehlmeyer emphasized. “By installing and maintaining smoke alarms, and practicing a home fire escape plan, you will be better prepared to survive if a fire occurs in your home.”
For the last several years, Michigan has ranked in the top tier of states nationally for its high number of residential fire fatalities. In the first nine months of this year alone, Michigan’s home fire death total has already reached 90 percent of the total fire deaths recorded during all of 2017. From January 1 through September 30, 2018, there have been 94 residential fire deaths in 71 residential fires reported by the state’s fire service.
The Michigan Bureau of Fire Services (BFS) has extended NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, to the entire month of October to maximize educational outreach efforts of fire departments across the state, emphasizing this year’s theme. Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire can happen anywhere. BFS, along with the statewide Community Risk Reduction Task Force, joins the NFPA, International Association of Fire Fighters, American Red Cross, National Safety Council, and other partners to spread the word about Home Fire Drill Day.
Need help with your plan? Go to: free Home Fire Campaign resources. For more information about preventing fires and staying safe, go to the NFPA official Fire Prevention Week website at www.firepreventionweek.org.
For more information about fire safety go to the Bureau of Fire Services website at www.michigan.gov/bfs