State Fire Marshal Releases Community Risk Reduction Plan to Help Prevent Residential Fire Fatalities

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

November 1, 2017 - Reducing Michigan’s high number of residential fire fatalities is the primary goal of a statewide Community Risk Reduction (CRR) plan announced today by State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer. Michigan has ranked in the top tier of states nationally for its high number of residential fire fatalities for the last several years. 

“With increased fire training and focused community outreach programs, the Michigan Fire Service has a responsibility to instill a cultural change across the state about fire and life safety in our homes, our schools, and our communities,” said Sehlmeyer. “The focus is to build a sustainable plan for all communities to be implemented with the assistance of local fire departments and other disciplines for years to come, as we all have a vested interest in community risk reduction. Our lives literally depend on it.”  

The Michigan CRR 2018-2020 Strategic Plan was drafted by various fire service members on September 7, 2017. The 19-member planning group is part of a larger CRR Task Force comprised of over 30 members from fire departments across the state, the Bureau of Fire Services (BFS) staff, and representatives from Michigan Fire Service organizations, the American Red Cross-Michigan Chapter, and support of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The Michigan CRR program is built around a three-year Strategic Operational Plan with year-specific goals, strategies and tasks for each of the desired outcomes in each of the four areas: Education, Engineering, Enforcement and Economic.

Sehlmeyer emphasized that the Michigan CRR program is centered on partnerships to gain public and private support. CRR will not impact fire departments’ current initiatives. It will however, be effective in jump-starting those communities that currently have no specific life safety programs. The data will be tracked quarterly to measure how the efforts meet our CRR mission, vision, and values.

“The Michigan CRR program will work to reduce fire fatalities through a statewide program that supports life safety risk reduction efforts in urban, suburban, and rural communities across Michigan,” said Sehlmeyer, referring to the 1,032 fire departments in Michigan. “One size does not fit all. The CRR effort in the Upper Peninsula is going to be different than the CRR effort in Detroit. We will customize our efforts to meet the needs of every community in the state, working to support both large and small communities.”

Representatives of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provided a pilot program on community risk reduction at the Michigan State University Kellogg Center on October 30-31. Eight (8) members of the Michigan CRR Task Force participated in the intensive two-day workshop, which offered a comprehensive and specific program on how to identify and assess the many risks in addition to fire safety that impact communities, and how to successfully plan, implement and sustain a CRR plan for Michigan. 

“Historically, the fire service spent time developing fire-related risk reduction programs. This workshop brought community leaders, building officials, zoning administrators, area agency on aging, school officials, non-governmental agencies, fire service leaders, and law enforcement together to enhance our efforts in a complete risk reduction program encompassing all aspects of risks our communities face,” said Kyle Svoboda of the Michigan Fire Inspectors Society.

After spending two days in Michigan, the NFPA gathered the feedback and ideas needed to move toward implementing their Community Risk Reduction curriculum.

"As the NFPA looks to extend community risk reduction beyond fire prevention, launching this pilot in the state of Michigan lends strong support to the statewide efforts being led by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.  By working together, we feel we can have a big impact on improved fire and life safety for residents and visitors statewide," said NFPA Segment Director Nicole Comeau.

As of October 23, 2017, a total of 61 civilian residential fire fatalities and 9,122 residential fires have been reported by fire departments reporting through the National Fire Incident Reporting System to the Bureau of Fire Service.   

Visit the Bureau of Fire Services website at www.michigan.gov/bfs for more fire safety information.

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