State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer is urging Michiganders to “ Push the Button” to test smoke alarms in the homes of mothers and elderly loved ones to make sure the smoke alarms are working properly.
Almost 70 percent of the state’s residential fire fatalities involve someone over the age of 40 in the last two years.
The state fire marshal is challenging the community to do three things on Mother’s Day,
1. If possible, visit your mother.
2. While visiting your mother, test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in the home.
3. Record a video while testing to post on social media to remind others to do the same.
Sehlmeyer added, “Please post your smoke alarm testing video on your Facebook page and challenge
your friends and family to do the same on Mother’s Day.”
The fire marshal also suggests checking on dads, grandparents and elderly neighbors smoke alarms and CO detectors.
“By pushing the button on each smoke alarm, you will make sure the smoke alarm works and know that your family and friends are protected,” said Sehlmeyer. “This test is such a simple, easy, life-saving thing that you can do to reduce the risk of a family or friend dying in a residential fire.
Sehlmeyer emphasized that this rather lighthearted Mother’s Day challenge is to address a deadly serious issue of residential fatal fires in Michigan. In 2018, Michigan’s fire departments collectively reported 139 residential fire fatalities with the highest rate among those over the age of 40, at 70 percent.
The fire marshal would like to remind residents that all homes should have a working smoke alarm on every level of the house, including every bedroom and the basement. According to experts, early warning is very important because people have less than three minutes to get out of homes before the smoke and gases impact the ability to exit.
Early warning of a fire is especially important to help senior citizens who need extra seconds to get out safely.
Smoke alarm begins to “chirp,” as warning that the battery is low and needs to be replaced. Smoke alarms are either powered by a replaceable disposable 9-volt battery or a non-replaceable 10-year lithium “long-life” battery. Some homes have smoke alarms directly hardwired into their home electrical system. Hard-wired smoke alarms are usually equipped with a backup battery and those batteries also need to be replaced at some point.
For more information about fire safety including requesting free detectors, check out the MI Prevention website or call (616) 250-4147 with questions.