Time to close the door on fast-moving home fires
By: Travis Kroll, Captain, Newaygo Fire Department
In today’s world, consumers expect everything to happen fast. A hot meal at the door in 30 minutes or less. Groceries delivered in a matter of hours. Coffee order ready for pickup at the push of a button. In many cases, speed makes our lives a little bit easier. But when it comes to fire, speed is killing people in their homes.
The pace at which a fire races through a home has increased at a dramatic and deadly rate. About 40 years ago, people had an average of 17 minutes to escape a burning home after the activation of a smoke alarm. Today, that window has shrunk to about three minutes or less. Natural furnishings and building materials have given way to synthetics, which burn much faster. Combine that with the popularity of open floor plans and it becomes the perfect habitat for an escalating fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 379,000 residential structure fires in the US in 2017. As a result, they saw 10,600 civilian injuries and 2,630 civilian deaths.
What if a simple act – one that takes under 10 seconds to complete – could have a potentially life-saving impact during a fire? Would you do it?
In the event of a fire, UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) found that rooms with closed doors had average temperatures of less than 100 degrees and 100 ppm of carbon monoxide, compared to 1000+ degrees and over 10,000ppm of carbon monoxide in the rooms with open doors.
Lexi King survived a house fire by closing her door. Her family, however, wasn’t as lucky.
Lexi liked to sleep with her bedroom door closed, but her brother’s was always open. When an overnight fire destroyed their Texas home, she was the only one to survive. Both her brother and parents died in the fire.
“What I had was a closed door. I had oxygen. I had time to collect my thoughts. I had time to prepare myself,” said King. “There literally is not a day that has gone by that I haven't thought of them and their beauty that they brought.”
Each day our department responds to a variety of calls, some more easily controlled than others. This is why we are leading a campaign across the community to encourage a simple behavioral change – “Close Before You Doze.”
In partnership with UL FSRI, we want every family to make sure they close all of their doors – bedrooms, bathrooms and basement – at night in order to starve any potential fire of the oxygen it requires to grow. It will give you much more time to escape.
To increase your chances of survival during a fast-moving house fire, we suggest the following:
After a fire starts, there's very little time to act. Take these fire safety and prevention steps today and you'll sleep easier at night.
By Holly Moon, Newaygo County Treasurer
As a county treasurer, my focus every day is to advocate for the taxpayers I serve. That means being prudent with your money, investing in our local economies, and making our voices heard when it can make a difference in the lives of our families, neighbors and communities. That’s why I’m speaking out now — because we have a real opportunity to protect taxpayers and free up funds for investing in our communities.
During this lame duck session, Congress has an opportunity to protect our communities and taxpayers from the negative impact of rising interest rates. There is bipartisan legislation ready to be voted on that would protect our local governments from higher interest rates and borrowing costs by restoring money market funds as an important source of low-cost capital.
H.R. 2319 in the House and S. 1117 in the Senate would effectively reverse a harmful Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation adopted a few years ago that increased borrowing costs for local governments, making infrastructure projects and other investments more expensive. This legislation has the support of more than 300 national, state and local organizations, including the Michigan Association of County Treasurers, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Association of State Universities, Michigan Association of Counties, and the Michigan Municipal League.
As of result of the SEC regulation, investors shifted $1.2 trillion in assets from money market funds that support local economies to funds that invest strictly in U.S. government debt. According to a recent study by Treasury Strategies, state and local government entities in Michigan lost over $2 billion in funding from tax-exempt money market funds between January 2016 and April 2018.
State and local governments, and the citizens they represent, have in recent years taken the brunt of Washington policy decisions that only seem to benefit the largest and most politically-connected Wall Street firms. Reversing the SEC’s money fund rule is one thing Congress can do to benefit our local communities in Michigan and throughout the country.
That’s why a broad coalition of elected leaders, public- and private-sector finance officers, trade unions and local chambers of commerce are calling on Michigan’s congressional delegation to support H.R. 2319 and S. 1117. This legislation will allow our state and local governments to utilize lower-cost borrowing options, increase investments in infrastructure projects that benefit our communities, and provide increased economic opportunities for our citizens.
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