Roseville Fire Prevention Officer Bill Snyder explains the new MI Prevention program to Roseville City Council members Steven Wietecha, Jan Haggerty and Catherine Haugh at the Recreational Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe April 15.

Roseville Fire Prevention Officer Bill Snyder explains the new MI Prevention program to Roseville City Council members Steven Wietecha, Jan Haggerty and Catherine Haugh at the Recreational Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe April 15.

Photo by Deb Jacques


State funds pay for firefighters to install smoke detectors

By: Brendan Losinski, Kristyne E. Demske | C&G Newspapers | Published April 22, 2019

 Roseville Deputy Fire Chief Nick Sage speaks with Vera LaFrale, of Eastpointe, about a new opportunity for residents of Roseville, Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores to get free smoke detectors installed in their homes by local firefighters.

Roseville Deputy Fire Chief Nick Sage speaks with Vera LaFrale, of Eastpointe, about a new opportunity for residents of Roseville, Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores to get free smoke detectors installed in their homes by local firefighters.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE/ST. CLAIR SHORES — Several fire departments across Michigan are offering their residents the opportunity to receive up to six smoke detectors and get them installed in their homes by trained firefighters.

Grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency provided to the MI Prevention task force is paying for the program.

“None of this would be possible without State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer or Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” remarked Eastpointe Deputy Fire Chief Nick Sage. “The fire marshal applied for the federal FEMA grant. We wouldn’t have the money in our budget for anything like this without it. In fact, many of our firefighters will be coming in on their days off to do these installations.”

The fire departments from Eastpointe, Roseville and St. Clair Shores teamed up April 15 at the Recreational Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe and the St. Clair Shores Senior Activity Center to meet with members of the community to talk about fire safety and tell them about the smoke detector program.

“We recommend there be a smoke detector on each floor of the home and in each bedroom,” said Roseville Fire Prevention Officer Bill Snyder. “We’re also encouraging people to take part in the Push the Button challenge, where people test their smoke detectors once a month to make sure they still work.”

Members of the fire departments will visit the homes of interested residents 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 10 as part of the initiative. Appointments are subject to change if there is a fire emergency. There is no cost for the smoke detectors or for their installation. Information on the program is available on scsmi.net. Additionally, the Eastpointe Fire Department can be reached at (586) 445-5055, the Roseville Fire Department can be reached at (586) 445-5444, and the St. Clair Shores Fire Department can be reached at (586) 445-5380.

St. Clair Shores Fire Marshal M. Bodnar said she estimates that 60-70% of house fires the department responds to do not have smoke detectors or they are not working properly. Faster notification of a fire in a house can save lives, Bodnar said, because smoke inhalation can kill those who do not get out fast enough.

St. Clair Shores has enough units to install six smoke detectors and one carbon monoxide detector in 36 homes through the program.

Interested homeowners can fill out a request form from the St. Clair Shores Fire Department, 26700 Harper Ave.; the Roseville Fire Department, 18750 Common Road; or the Eastpointe Fire Department, 16370 Nine Mile Road. Applications are also available online at tinyurl.com/tricityfiresafety. The deadline to apply is April 26.

In addition to installing the detectors, firefighters will conduct a home safety inspection to make sure that outlets and appliances are being used safely, the space around the water heater is clear, and the hallways and exits of the home are clear. The installation should take 15-20 minutes total, and a homeowner must be home at the time of installation.

There were 139 home fire deaths in Michigan in 2018, an increase from 96 deaths in 2017. As of April 9, there had been 38 home fire deaths in 34 fires in 2019. The push for smoke detector awareness was a particular priority for the Eastpointe and Roseville departments following several fire deaths in the two communities in 2018.

“In the majority of our fire fatalities, the common thread was the homes didn’t have working smoke detectors,” said Sage. “Our goals are twofold as a result: more outreach in the schools and encouraging more smoke detectors in the home.”

In St. Clair Shores, there have been two fatalities due to structure fires in the past five years: one in 2016 and one in 2014.

“Fortunately, we haven’t had any recent fatal fires in St. Clair Shores, but we did provide support during the fires in Eastpointe and Roseville,” added Bodnar. “Fires like that can happen to anyone at any time. It can injure people regardless of age or social standing.”

Fire departments across the state are hoping to reach as many people as possible with the new program. Smoke alarms have a recommended life span of 10 years, and the devices being given out by fire departments as part of the program have batteries that will last just as long.

Local fire department leaders said they couldn’t stress enough how important fire safety is and the difference that having new smoke detectors in the home can make.

“This program means a great deal for the community,” said Bodnar. “It gives residents the ability to get smoke detectors in their homes at no cost and almost no effort. We’re meeting with senior citizens today because this program can be especially helpful to them, since they often have mobility issues or can have trouble getting up on a ladder to install or check a smoke detector.”

“We want to make everyone as safe as possible through prevention,” added St. Clair Shores Fire Inspector Scott DesMadryl. “Having precautions in place saves lives and prevents property damage. It makes a real difference.”

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