Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-335-LARA (5272)
August 14, 2019 – A statewide push to save lives is already seeing positive results. Monday, a Blair Township family exited their home safely after a recently installed carbon monoxide detector indicated high levels of carbon monoxide in their home. The family left the home when the detector sounded and avoided the escalating buildup of carbon monoxide from a faulty stove in their home. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that causes “flu-like” symptoms in low amounts and can kill people and animals who breathe in large amounts.
The carbon monoxide detector was one of thousands installed by local fire departments over the last several months through a grant coordinated by MI Prevention, a statewide fire safety campaign organized by the State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Fire Services and Michigan’s fire safety organizations.
This is just one example of the impact of the recent push to install 21,384 smoke alarms and 6,455 carbon monoxide detectors throughout the state. Funding for the initiative came 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 match from the state of Michigan.
In 2018, 139 Michiganders perished in home fires with $260 million in reported property damage. Since January 1, 59 people have died in residential fires in Michigan, a 30% decrease as compared to the 84 residential fire deaths that had occurred at this time last year.
“Working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors save lives,” said Orlene Hawks, the director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which houses the Bureau of Fire Services. “MI Prevention is an important statewide partnership that is already having a direct impact on the lives of Michiganders.”
Fire deaths and carbon monoxide-related fatalities are largely preventable if we educate Michigan residents on the importance of having working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in their home,” said State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer. “The lives of all Michiganders depend on education and awareness.”
The recent campaign targeted adults over age 40 and children under age nine in Flint, the Traverse City area, and Lake County, where some of the highest number of fire deaths have occurred in recent years. Other priority areas included Detroit, Saginaw and Southern Macomb County – all of which had smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors installed in homes as a part of this program.
The grant also allocated funding for marketing and educational campaigns to raise awareness and knowledge about fire safety to achieve a sustained behavioral change. Starting August 26, billboards will be going up around the state to remind Michiganders of two important messages:
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.