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Home fire deaths up in Michigan

Posted: 9:23 AM, Oct 03, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-03 13:23:36Z

October is Fire Prevention Month and right now the state is urging Michiganders to look for places in their homes where fires can start.

Nine months into the year, the state is almost already surpassing the total number of home fire deaths recorded during all of last year.

For the last several years, the state has ranked as one of the deadliest for residential fire deaths.

Lansing Fire Chief Steve Mazurek says as the weather starts to get colder, not only should you have working fire alarms, but you should have furnaces cleaned and inspected as soon as possible.

"Have a certified technician come out and inspect your furnace. One to make sure it's fire safe and clean and 2; to make sure it's not omitting carbon monoxide," said Captain Steve Mazurek with the Lansing Fire Department.

People should have working smoke alarms on each level of their home and in every bedroom. Make sure the smoke alarms are tested every month, and have a home escape plan.

Mazurek said he's also nothing an unfortunate trend where less people have renters insurance and are losing everything. He highly recommends people purchase renters insurance as the basic package only costs $10 a month.

Smoking is the number one cause of home fire deaths with the majority of those people being 40-years-old and older.

Below are tips to make your home more fire-safe.

  • Never smoke in bed. Keep lighters and cigarettes away from children.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Keep the stove and burners clean and free of grease while you cook to avoid the potential for a small kitchen fire that can get out of hand quickly. 
  • Never leave candles unattended. Place them in sturdy holders on uncluttered surfaces; keep them at least a foot away from anything that can burn . . . the curtains, bedding, furniture, carpeting.
  • Have fireplaces, chimneys, and both wood and coal stoves inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended.
  • Use caution when using space heaters. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn and place them on a hard-nonflammable surface, like a ceramic tile floor. Never leave them unattended.
  • Replace frayed extension cords; do not overload extension cords.
  • Never overload electrical outlets. Plug only one heat-producing appliance into an outlet at time.
  • Major appliances should not be plugged in using extension cords and plug strips. Plug appliances directly into the wall receptacle.
  • Keep clothes and other items three feet away for your gas water heater that can ignite items when the water heater comes on.
  • Clean the dryer lint screen after each load as lint is extremely flammable. 
  • Have a fire extinguisher in the home and know how to use it.
  • Develop and practice a home fire escape plan that the entire family knows that includes two ways out of every room.
  • Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
  • Sleep with bedroom doors closed to limit fire spread. Closing the door before dozing can save lives by reducing toxic smoke levels and slowing down the spread of fire and smoke into sleeping areas.
  • Make sure you close doors behind you as you escape a fire.