Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Use caution with space heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces
Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
January 22, 2018 - State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer today urges Michiganders to focus on fire safety due to an increase in fatal fires in the first month of 2018. As of Jan. 17, 15 Michiganders have died in residential fires across the state. This is up from nine fire fatalities recorded for the entire month of January 2017.
Each year we see an increase in residential fires during the winter months caused by space heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces and overloaded electric wiring. Due to the rise in fire deaths this month, the fire marshal requests that Michiganders think about ways to prevent fires and implement control methods to increase their safety if a fire occurred at their home.
“Each winter, the inappropriate use, carelessness, and accidents using alternative heating methods have been the cause of many residential fires and fire deaths in Michigan. While all of these methods of heating are acceptable if used correctly, the incorrect use of some heating methods is a major contributing factor in residential fires and home fire fatalities,” said Sehlmeyer. “Simply put, safety precautions must be taken with any of these heating methods to prevent deadly consequences.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, half of home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January and February across the nation, and Michigan is no exception.
Home safety tips:
Space Heater Safety:
Wood Burning Stoves and Fireplace Safety:
NOTE: When cleaning out your fireplace and stove, all ashes and coals should be placed in a metal container. Never place a metal container containing ashes and coals in your garage, on a porch or deck to cool. The metal ash and coal container should be moved outside of your home and placed at least three feet from any other buildings.
Help your fire department. Make sure snow is cleared from the fire hydrants to make them clearly visible and accessible.
According to Sehlmeyer, the peak time for a residential fire fatality to occur is between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping.
"When a fire occurs, get out quick and stay out. Escape first, closing doors behind you as you leave by door or window. Quickly gather at your meeting place and then notify the fire department by calling 9-1-1 from a safe location," said Sehlmeyer. "Your firefighters are specially trained and equipped to rescue your family and pets, as well as to protect your possessions. Help your firefighters by remaining together outside the home and directing them to endangered family."
Visit the Bureau of Fire Services website for more fire safety information.
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