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Fire Safety Tips

On this page you will find safety tips about heating safety, pet fire safety, summer fire safety, smoke alarmscreating a home fire escape plan and severe weather tips.

heating safety

Did you know that heating is the second leading cause of home fires? Follow these heating safety tips:

  • Install and test carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month.
  • Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year.
  • Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep it outside at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from any heat source like fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, or space heaters.
  • Plug only one heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home.
  • Turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed
winter fires

pet fire safetyPET FIRE SAFETY FINAL
July 15th is National Pet Safety Day! 
Take some time to read about how you can
prepare to care for you pet in the case of an emergency.
Also, learn how you can prevent your furry friend
from accidently causing a home fire.
  • Approximately 750 home fires are caused by pets, annually.
  • An estimated 500,000 pets are affected by fires, annually.
  • An estimated 40,000 pets perish in fires, annually
Safety tips:
  • Lock stove top knobs. If your animal jumps up on the stove, it is possible that they could nudge the knob enough to turn the stove top burner on. Consider using knob covers to prevent such an incident from occurring.
  • Do not leave any open flame unattended. Pets can jump, paw at, our wag their tails into a burning candle and cause it to tip over.
  • Eliminate loose wires and cords that your pet may want to use as their new chew toy.
  • Use screen protection around fireplaces, to prevent your pet from getting into hot embers.
  • For more safety tips, visit
Prepare for an emergency:
  • Install smoke alarms in every level of your home. Test your smoke alarm each month.
  • Place a pet rescue alert sticker on a front facing window. This will alert firefighters that your pet may still be inside.
  • Keep your pet's collar on them and up-to-date with your correct contact information.
  • Consider investing in monitored fire protection options for your home.
  • The Orion Township Fire Department offers a no cost smoke alarm installation program to all Orion Township Residents! Call for more details, 248-391-0304 ext. 2000 

Summer Safety Tips
As you prepare to enjoy the summer months ahead, please keep these safety tips in mind!fire safety - Copy

  • Build campfires at least 25 feet away from anything that can burn.
  • If you want to watch fireworks, attend shows that are organized and run by experts.
  • Use chimeneas, outdoor fireplaces and firepits outdoors only.
  • Keep chimeneas, outdoor fireplaces and firepits at least 10 feet away from structures and anything else that can burn
  • Use propane, charcoal and wood pellet barbeque grills outdoors only. 
  • Place grills far away from structures, overhanging branches or materials.
  • Do not store or use a grill on a porch or balcony.
  • To review these great safety tips and more, visit the FEMA website.
  • Watch this Summer Safety Tip video, then share it with your family and friends! 

Smoke Alarms
Installing your smoke alarms correctly and making sure they are in working order is an important step to making your home and family safer from fire.  It’s important to have enough smoke alarms in your home. Fire research has Image of house with smoke detectors. Image says "Put Smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home including the basementdemonstrated that with today’s modern furnishings, fires can spread much more rapidly than in the past when more natural materials were used. Because of this, having a sufficient number of properly located smoke alarms is essential to maximize the amount of available escape time. For many years NFPA 72,  National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, has required as a minimum that smoke alarms be installed inside every sleep room (even for existing homes) in addition to requiring them outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. (Additional smoke alarms are required for larger homes.) Homes built to earlier standards often don’t meet these minimum requirements. Homeowners and enforcement authorities should recognize that detection needs have changed over the years and take proactive steps make sure that every home has a sufficient complement of smoke alarms.

Installing smoke alarms

  • Choose smoke alarms that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations.
  • Smoke alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet (3 meters) from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
  • Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises). Wall-mounted alarms should be installed not more than 12 inches away from the ceiling (to the top of the alarm).
  • If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex of the peak (four inches down from the peak).
  • Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  • Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could keep the alarms from working.
  • For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound. Interconnection can be done using hard-wiring or wireless technology.
  • When interconnected smoke alarms are installed, it is important that all of the alarms are from the same manufacturer. If the alarms are not compatible, they may not sound.
  • There are two types of smoke alarms – ionization and photoelectric. An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or combination ionization-photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor smoke alarms, are recommended.
  • Keep manufacturer’s instructions for reference.
Testing smoke alarms
  • Smoke alarms should be maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  • Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.Pictograph of smoke alarm test
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
  • Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
  • Smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
  • When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturer’s instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.
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How to make a home fire escape plan


Your ability to get out of your home during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning.

Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.

Escape planning tips

  • Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes.  Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of yoA family gathers around the table to create a home escape plan.ur home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm.
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code® requires interconnected smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.
  • Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
  • Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.
  • Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor's home or a cellular phone once safely outside.
  • If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a backup person too, in case the designee is not home during the emergency
  • If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Emergency release devices won't compromise your security - but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
  • Tell guests or visitors to your home about your family's fire escape plan. When staying overnight at other people's homes, ask about their escape plan. If they don't have a plan in place, offer to help them make one. This is especially important when children are permitted to attend "sleepovers" at friends' homes.
  • Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately. Residents of high-rise and apartment buildings (PDF) may be safer "defending in place."
  • Once you're out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.

Put your plan to the test

  • Practice your home fire escape plan twice a year, making the drill as realistic as possible.
  • Make arrangements in your plan for anyone in your home who has a disability.
  • Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping. The objective is to practice, not to frighten, so telling children there will be a drill before they go to bed can be as effective as a surprise drill.
  • It's important to determine during the drill whether children and others can readily waken to the sound of the smoke alarm. If they fail to awaken, make sure that someone is assigned to wake them up as part of the drill and in a real emergency situation.
  • If your home has two floors, every family member (including children) must be able to escape from the second floor rooms. Escape ladders can be placed in or near windows to provide an additional escape route. Review the manufacturer's instructions carefully so you'll be able to use a safety ladder in an emergency. Practice setting up the ladder from a first floor window to make sure you can do it correctly and quickly. Children should only practice with a grown-up, and only from a first-story window. Store the ladder near the window, in an easily accessible location. You don't want to have to search for it during a fire.
  • Always choose the escape route that is safest – the one with the least amount of smoke and heat – but be prepared to escape under toxic smoke if necessary. When you do your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice getting low and going under the smoke to your exit.
  • Closing doors on your way out slows the spread of fire, giving you more time to safely escape.
  • In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your home or apartment building. To prepare for an emergency like this, practice "sealing yourself in for safety" as part of your home fire escape plan. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover air vents to keep smoke from coming in. If possible, open your windows at the top and bottom so fresh air can get in. Call the fire department to report your exact location. Wave a flashlight or light-colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.

Clear Your Escape Routes

Items that block doors and windows in your home could keep you from escaping in the event of a home fire. And that could mean the difference between life and death. So unblock your exits today! Key to your family’s safety is planning and practicing a home fire escape plan twice a year. Start by identifying two escape routes out of each room, if possible, then make sure that each of those escape routes can be used safely by everyone. Download the "Clear Your Escape Routes" brochure in English or Spanish.

severe weather tips

Severe weather can happen at any time, in any part of the country. That’s why it’s important for you to be ready for severe weather events and to understand the fire risks that can come with them.

You may be surprised to learn that besides the wind and water damage, severe weather also brings the risk of fire. Fire can occur due to:

  • Lightning
  • Portable generators
  • Leaking gas lines, damaged propane tanks and leaking vehicle gas tanks
  • Water damaged appliances
  • Debris near electrical wires and transformers
  • Damaged or downed utility lines
  • Exposed electrical outlets and wiring


  • Lightning can cause house fires. So, test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Portable generators stay outside. Only use the extension cords made for generator use.
  • Check your gas lines and make sure there are no leaks.
  • If an appliance gets wet, have it inspected by an electrician.
  • Move any debris away from electric lines and transformers.
  • Damaged and downed powerlines are not only a fire hazard, but an electrocution risk. Contact the electrical company or fire department if you see a downed or sparking line.
  • Like downed lines, exposed wiring is a fire hazard and an electrocution risk. Have an electrician inspect any exposed electrical outlets or wiring.

Before severe weather hits, we encourage you to prepare your home and family for fire safety.

  • Test your smoke alarm.
  • Discuss your home escape plan and make sure everyone knows how to get out of their home and where to meet.
  • If someone in your family needs assistance escaping, decide who will help.

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