Comstock Charter Township Fire Marshal Mike Kessler says that fires can spring up in an instant.
He said, “Back in the olden days the materials that houses were made out of were much stronger and it took 10 maybe 15 minutes for a house to get going, now it’s up to 3 minutes.”
According to the Michigan Fire Inspectors Society Foundation, this year 91 people have died in 76 fatal fires in Michigan, which is up 8 percent from previous years.
Fire Marshal Kessler said, “it’s very important to have a fire escape plan.”
National Fire Prevention Week is the week of October 9th and Fire Marshall Kessler wants to make sure every family in Comstock has a fire escape plan.
“A Fire escape plan is something you sit down with your whole and family and draw all the exits and once you have that put all your smoke alarms in your drawing and then you practice it.”
Fire Marshal Kessler says that families should practice their safety plans twice a year.
However, these plans are relatively easy to make.
Fire Marshal Kessler said that fire escape plans are just “a basic floor plan of your home, you don’t need the appliances or furniture, just a basic floor plan, put your windows in and your doors in, your exit doors. And if one way is blocked then you have another escape plan.”
Make sure your family has a meeting place outside, so that you and firefighters can make sure everyone is safe.
Smoke alarms are just as important.
According to the Michigan Fire Inspectors Society Foundation, only 22% of homes reported not having a working fire alarm.
Fire Marshal Kessler said that smoke detectors are “very important because that’s your first warning device that you do have a structure fire, that’s something going on. If the alarm goes off, then you exit the building.”
Fire Marshal Kessler says your family should have one smoke alarm in every bedroom, one in each hallway, and one in the basement.
If you have multiple floors in your home, make sure there’s a smoke alarm on each floor.
Smoke detectors should be tested monthly and have their battery replaced every two years.
Fire Marshal Kessler suggested buying smoke detectors with lithium batteries.
He said, “The best kind of smoke alarm, the newer ones, have a ten-year lithium battery, so you never have to change the battery for 10 years. After 10 years is over, throw them away.”
Fire Marshal Kessler says one of the most important messages is “don’t go back inside for anything”
He says it’s vital that you leave the home and let the professionals fight the fire.
Fire Marshal Kessler said, “It’s very important that they stay out. Don’t try to fight the fire, no matter how big or small it is. Get out and alert everyone there is a fire and get out and stay out. We’ve had several fires where someone has gone back in when they were out, and they didn’t make it back out.”
National Fire Prevention Week was founded in 1922.
It takes place the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
That fire killed more than 250 people and left 100,000 more homeless.
For more information on the Great Chicago Fire, National Fire Prevention week, and how to keep your family safe from structure fires, go here.