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MI Prevention Campaign Targets High-Risk Areas to Reduce Fire Fatalities
Residential Smoke Alarm Installation and Consumer Fire Education Program Funded by FEMA Grant
Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-335-LARA (5272)
April 11, 2019 – MI Prevention – a statewide fire safety campaign through the State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Fire Services and Michigan’s fire safety organizations – is currently working to reduce the high number of fire deaths, injuries and property loss in Michigan. In order to protect the health and safety of high-risk populations in targeted areas, MI Prevention is installing smoke alarms in homes free of charge and educating consumers on safety practices.
Funding for the initiative comes from a competitive, one-year, $525,000 Fire Prevention and Safety grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Homeland Security, and a five percent state match.
“Fire-related fatalities are largely preventable by educating consumers on the life-saving practice of having working smoke alarms and adopting smart fire safety behaviors,” said LARA Director Orlene Hawks.
“A fire can affect anyone at any time. The lives of all Michiganders depend on education and awareness.”
In 2018, 139 Michiganders perished in home fires with a reported $260 million in property damage. Since January 1, 2019, 38 people have died in residential fires in Michigan. These statistics are gathered from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) data, as reported by fire departments.
“We’re focusing on the two groups that are affected most by fire fatalities: adults over age 40 and children under age nine,” said State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer. “Nearly 80 percent of Michigan’s population are in these high-risk groups and it’s where we’ve seen the greatest number of fire deaths.”
Targeted areas for this campaign include Flint, the Traverse City area, and Lake County, where some of the highest number of fire deaths have occurred in 2017-2018. Other priority areas are Detroit, Saginaw and Southern Macomb County – all of which have smoke alarm installation blitzes as a part of this program.
The installation of 21,384 smoke alarms and 6,455 carbon monoxide (CO) alarms obtained through the grant will be completed by August 1, 2019.
More than just an alarm give-away program, this campaign is an actual home installation program with an educational component to increase awareness and knowledge about fire safety to achieve a sustained behavioral change. Upon the homeowner’s request, trained MI Prevention volunteers consisting of fire and emergency personnel within the targeted areas will install the 10-year life expectancy alarms – up to six per house, if needed. Homeowners can contact their local fire department to request a fire safety home visit at no charge.
In addition, the fire service is working to educate citizens, increase awareness, correct bad habits, and cut down on unsafe behavior in homes across this state. MI Prevention is also educating the more than 30,000 fire fighters in Michigan to fully understand community risk reduction concepts to maximize fire prevention efforts in their own counties. The grant also allocates funding for marketing and educational campaigns to raise awareness.
Consumers can find more resources and safety information at the MI Prevention website: www.michigan.gov/miprevention
MI Prevention is built around a community risk reduction (CRR) program first introduced in Michigan by the National Fire Protection Association in 2017 and is comprised of representatives from fire service, law enforcement, school officials, and other public and private organization and community leaders. A statewide CRR Task Force developed a three-year Michigan CRR 2018-2020 Strategic Plan.
Special recognition this year goes to community partner Home Depot in Okemos, MI for its invaluable support by providing and distributing alarm orders to fire departments throughout the state.