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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Proclaims October as Fire Prevention Month in Michigan
September 30, 2022
Proclamation marks a century of safety education from National Fire Prevention Association
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed October as Fire Prevention Month in Michigan to raise awareness about simple but important ways to stay safe in the event of a home fire. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) is celebrating a century of fire safety education by marking the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week, with the theme: “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.”
“This Fire Prevention Month, I urge every Michigander to know how to prevent and escape fire, which is an important, potentially life-saving skill,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Everyone in your home, from the youngest to the oldest, should know two ways out of every room and regularly practice their home escape plan. Home fire drills save lives. This month, take the time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, speak to your loved ones about fire safety, and check out the educational tools and vital safety information that fire departments across Michigan are offering all month long. Let’s work together to stay safe.”
Fatal fire statistics in Michigan show that as of September 15th, Michigan has experienced 89 fatalities resulting from 74 fires. This is a 10% increase in year-to-date fire related deaths. MI Prevention’s data indicates 65% of fire deaths happen overnight (between 6pm and 6am) with the fires most often starting in the living room or bedroom. Last year, 107 Michigan residents were killed in 94 residential fires, and fire departments throughout the state responded to approximately 12,660 residential fires, according to data gathered through the National Fire Incident Reporting System.
“You have as little as two minutes to escape the house from the moment the smoke alarm sounds,” said Orlene Hawks, Director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which houses the Bureau of Fire Services. “A fire escape plan is a safeguard for your life and the lives of your loved ones.”
Together, MI Prevention – a statewide fire safety campaign through the Bureau of Fire Services – and the Michigan Fire Inspectors Society have identified several trends in Michigan’s fire fatalities. Careless smoking is the number one reported cause of fire fatalities in Michigan accounting for 51% of the victims to date in 2022. Another serious data trend is that 77% of fatal fires reported did not have working smoke alarms at the time of the fire.
“Having working smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside sleeping areas and on every level of your home – as well as having working carbon monoxide detectors on each level and closing bedroom doors when you are sleeping – are the best defenses against these fast-moving fatal fires,” said State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer. These precautions cuts a family’s risk of dying in a residential fire in half,”
Michiganders should assist older adults in their family by testing smoke alarms in addition to identifying and correcting any fire hazards in their home. It is also important to watch out for careless smoking.
“If I could suggest one action item for all Michiganders in the month of October, I would encourage everyone to reach out to an older adult in your family or neighbor and make sure they have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors,” said Sehlmeyer.
Together, MI Prevention and partnering fire service organizations are working to reduce the number of fire deaths, injuries, and property loss in Michigan. This coordinated approach targets increased awareness and education to prevent fires in identified high-risk populations. Since 2019, 33,154 smoke alarms and 8,531carbon monoxide detectors have been installed in homes free of charge. Consumers can find more resources and safety information at the MI Prevention website or the Michigan Fire Inspectors Society’s website
The Bureau of Fire Services joins the NFPA and other state and national organizations in recognizing Fire Prevention Week including the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, which serves burn survivors, loved ones, burn care professionals, researchers, and anyone else committed to empowering the burn community and building a safer world.
“Each year in the United States, 1.1 million burn injuries require medical attention, and fire departments in the U.S. reported a fire somewhere every 23 seconds in 2021,” said Amy Acton, the CEO of Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and Immediate Past Chair of the NFPA Board of Directors. “Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors sees firsthand the impact that a burn injury can have on a human life, so it is our goal as a community to help reduce fire-related injuries and deaths that occur each year.”
Throughout October, MI Prevention is extending educational outreach efforts to Michigan fire departments and the public with a community outreach kit for fire departments and daily fire safety messaging on social media. Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer will be travelling to schools across Michigan as part of this effort to help students understand the importance of fire safety.
The NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for 100 years, making it the longest-running public health and safety observance on record. For more information about preventing fires and staying safe, go to the NFPA official Fire Prevention Week website at www.firepreventionweek.org.