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Fire Escape Plans, Smoke Alarms Help Save Lives

Lawmaker who represents Hartland provides updates and views on various topics.

By Cindy Denby 

The month of October is a busy time of year for Michigan residents. Somewhere in between football games and trips to the cider mill, we must find time to prepare our homes and families for the cold months ahead. This transition period is the perfect time for individuals and families to develop and practice home fire escape plans.

According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, last year 68 people died in home fires and fire departments responded to 15,578 home fires throughout the state of Michigan. Seventy-five percent of all fire fatalities occur in home fires, putting residents at the greatest risk. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), less than 25 percent of Michigan residents have established and rehearsed a home fire escape plan.

This month, all Michigan residents are encouraged to develop and practice a home fire escape plan to be prepared in the event of a real emergency. An efficient fire escape plan must be developed by all those who occupy a single residence. Using a floor plan or a hand-drawn map of the home, residents should identify two ways to safely get out of each room in the house. After a basic escape plan is established, residents should practice crawling low to avoid excessive smoke inhalation that could occur in the event of a real fire. In addition, residents should know how to unlock all doors and windows of their home in case they need to be opened immediately in an emergency. 

In addition to the development and practice of an escape plan, it is important for homes to have at least two working smoke alarms on each level and one in every bedroom. According to the NFPA, more than half of home structure fire deaths occur in homes where there is no working smoke alarm. All homeowners are encouraged to test existing fire alarms in their homes and replace devises and batteries where needed.

Although not all home fires can be prevented, the severity of injuries and fatalities can be greatly reduced though the development and practice of an escape plan and the maintenance of smoke alarms. For more information on how to protect your home and family in the event of a fire, visit the National Fire Protection Association website at www.nfpa.org.

If you have any questions or need assistance with any state issues, please contact me toll free at 866-828-4863 or via e-mail at cindydenby@house.mi.gov.

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