Archived Story

Sen. John Proos: Recognize Fire Prevention Week

Published 9:31pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Chicago Fire of 1871 killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed more than 17,400 structures.

In 2010, a house fire was reported every 85 seconds.

Firefighters nationwide responded to 369,500 home fires that caused 2,640 civilian deaths and $6.9 billion in damage; and Michigan fire departments responded to 15,966 house fires that killed 47 residents.

Fire Prevention Week was established in 1922 to commemorate the Chicago tragedy by raising awareness about fire safety and prevention.

This year, Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 7-13. The 2012 theme, “Have 2 Ways Out,” is a reminder of one step we can do to keep our families safe in the event of a house fire.

I encourage each southwest Michigan homeowner to recognize this week by practicing a fire escape plan with his or her family and making sure his or her home is fire safe.

Every second counts. Having a home escape plan that everyone knows and has practiced is critical because your home could be engulfed in flames in less than three minutes. As the theme mentions, have two ways out in case the main exit is blocked by fire.

Nearly two-thirds of house fire deaths occur in homes that do not have working smoke detectors, and having a working smoke alarm in your home cuts in half your risk of dying in a fire.

Both statistics illustrate why it is so important that you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, test them once a month and replace the batteries every year.

For more information about Fire Prevention Week, including fire facts, safety tips and other resources, visit

Winter tends to be the time of year when a large percentage of house fires occur, with heating equipment being the second-leading cause of reported home fires.

As the temperatures cool and we begin to turn on the heater, October is an excellent time to ensure our homes are fire safe and to practice an escape plan.

Both actions take only a few minutes, but they could mean all the difference for you and your family.

Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien and Cass counties and most of Van Buren County.  

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