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Michigan fire deaths up 144% in 2022, state reports
Feb 09, 2022

Fire deaths across Michigan are up 144% this year compared to the same 34 days in 2021, according to state officials.The Michigan Fire Marshal and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Agency (LARA) are encouraging residents to use precautions to protect their families and homes against fires after the Bureau of Fire services recorded 18 accidental and preventable fires resulting in 22 deaths in January.

In 2021, 67% of the 107 fire fatalities in Michigan involved adults over the age of 40, according to the state agency. Most of these residential fires occurred in the evening with a majority starting in the living room or in a bedroom.

LARA reports the top three causes of fatal fires in 2021 were: smoking, heating devices such as space heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces and cooking.
“It is important to talk about fire safety with our parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors, and help them prepare their home to be more fire safe.” said Michigan Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer. “You can start with making sure they have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in their home. Help develop a fire escape plan that takes into consideration any mobility issues they may have and practice the plan with them.”

For smokers or for individuals who use heaters, there should be fire safety practices being used as well as a plan to escape and survive a fire, Sehlmeyer said.

“If I could get one message out to all Michiganders, it would be to ‘get out and stay out’ as quickly as possible if a fire occurs in your home,” said Sehlmeyer.
The following bullet points are fire safety tips recommended by LARA and the Michigan Fire Marshal.
  • Own a working smoke alarm: Working smoke alarms may reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by as much as 60 percent. Make sure kids and the elderly in your home are familiar with the sound of the smoke alarm. Never remove or disable smoke alarms. For the deaf or hard of hearing, consider installing smoke alarms that use a flashing light or a bed shaker device to alert them of a fire emergency. Working smoke alarms may reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by as much as 60 percent.
  • Have a plan: Have a home fire escape plan that the entire family has practiced that includes having two ways out of every room and a meeting place outside the house. Make sure that you practice and can open and get out of windows and doors. You should always clear snow away from exterior doors so you can get out fast in the event of an emergency.
  • Own carbon monoxide detector: Install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors on each level of your home to alert you of high levels of CO. Closing your bedroom doors when you sleep will separate yourself from fire, heat, and toxic smoke. Never use the range or oven as a source to heat for your home. The oven not only is a potential fire hazard, but it can also become a source of high levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Smoke safely: The leading cause of fatal fires in Michigan involves smoking. moke outside. Many home items like napkins or trash bags can catch on fire if they touch a cigarette or ashes. It is always safer to smoke outside. You should never smoke in bed. Mattresses and bedding can catch on fire easily. Do not smoke in bed because you might fall asleep with a lit cigarette. Not to mention, it’s just plain dirty.
  • Use space heaters with caution: Last year an average of 1,700 house fires involved portable space heaters, resulting in 80 deaths and 160 injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. They’re mostly caused when a space heater is placed too close to curtains, bedding, or upholstered furniture that ignited. Do not plug another electrical device or extension cord into the same outlet as a heater because it’s what causes overheating.

Individuals that need smoke alarms and can’t afford one should contact the Bureau of Fire Services at 517-241-8847 or on its website, MIPrevention.org.


IAFF Local 1164
14910 Farmington Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154

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