IONIA, Mich (WOOD) – Since January 1st, 18 home fires have claimed the lives of 25 Michiganders. This week, The United States Fire Administration ranked Michigan as the #1 deadliest state in the country. According to information from the Michigan Fire Inspectors Society, the number of 2020 fire deaths reflects a 94% increase from the same period when compared to 2019. That’s why firefighters continue to work together in communities across the state to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in homes where they are needed and provide comprehensive education to residents to eliminate risks in order to Keep Michigan S.A.F.E.
This afternoon, members from the Delhi Township Fire Department, Capital Area Fire and Life Safety Association, and E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. joined representatives from the Ionia Department of Public Safety to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in the home of an Ionia resident with young children. Her home has no smoke or CO alarms. The Ionia homeowner’s mother lives next door to the Grand Rapids home that burned on February 5th and killed 4 family members, Wanedia Scales,35, Xavier Woldeab, 15, Robert Scales, Jr., 14, and Elihjah Scales, 10. The Scales family’s home also did not have working smoke alarms.
“Every 24 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation,” said Firefighter Michael McLeieer, President of the non-profit safety charity E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. (Education Showing Children and Adults Procedures for Evacuations). “Michigan’s increase in fire deaths so far this year has occurred in homes that did not have working smoke alarms. Having working smoke alarms and creating and practicing an escape plan will double the chances of escaping a home fire alive,” according to McLeieer.
Michigan S.A.F.E. (Smoke Alarms For Everyone) is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of fire and life safety advocates. Each member has a broad-based background in injury prevention and community risk reduction. The goal is to reduce fires and fire deaths through education and by assisting local communities with their community risk assessment and installing free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure every Michigander’s owner-occupied home is protected and remains safe!
McLeieer stated “Our stakeholders stand united and are the voices for the 25 people who have tragically lost their lives so far in 2020 and in previous years and will never have a voice again. We must continue to advocate for real fire and life safety solutions like requiring residential sprinklers to be installed in all new construction, regular public assembly inspections and a state-wide fire code in order to improve the quality of life for every Michigander and visitors to the Great Lakes State for many years into the future.”
For more information about fire safety and ways to obtain smoke or carbon monoxide alarms, please contact your local fire department. If you live in Mid Michigan and need further assistance call toll free 1-866-566-5366 or if you live in West Michigan call 1-844-978-4400.