THE KIWANIS CLUB OF OWOSSO met for a special meeting on Tuesday, March 13 at the Memorial Healthcare Auditorium that included guest speaker Fire Lieutenant Michael McLeieer, National Fire Academy instructor, active member of the Olivet Fire Department, and founder of ESCAPE Inc. (Education Showing Children and Adults Procedures for Evacuations). McLeieer created the nonprofit in 1995 with the mission of teaching children and adults, techniques to prevent fires. The group has had an enormous impact in western Michigan with education in fire prevention leading to a reduction in fire-related fatalities. McLeieer has now been working to take this prevention model into the mid-Michigan region, with plans for a statewide program. His goal is to help induce changes in household behavior through awareness. Examples would include the myth that some individuals have that a smoke alarm is not needed within a household, because there aren’t smokers living within the residence.
Some sobering related facts include there have been 32 fatalities in the state of Michigan since January, 80 percent of homes have alarms that no longer function or do not have batteries, and often when people are randomly gifted fire or carbon monoxide detectors, they are never even removed from the packaging. McLeieer wants to accommodate households needing fire alarms correctly installed, keeping in mind that different homes, have different alarm requirements, and paying close attention to effective placement.
Over recent years, one change in home fire situations has involved an increase within the senior population due to mobility, hearing, or other issues. It is recommended to keep homes as clutter/debris free as possible for an easily accessible escape path. Another statement of advice: never remain inside or return to a home to seek out the source of a fire. Once outside of the residence, stay there.
In the photo, President Elect Bill Pearsall, of the Kiwanis Club of Owosso, honored McLeieer with a certificate of appreciation.
Further information on ESCAPE Inc. may be found at www.escapeinc.org, www.jakethefiredog.org, or through YouTube or social media venues.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)