Not only was last year one of the deadliest in American History because of COVID-19, but it was also the deadliest in Grand Rapids for house fires, according to the Grand Rapids Fire Department and WZZM.

There were 9 deaths in 5 different house fires in Grand Rapids in 2020 which is more than the last two decades, as Grand Rapid Fire Department Lt. William Smith told WZZM,

"This was a very, very high number for us. We haven't had that many fire fatalities for a very long time, nearly 20 years. So, the fire prevention division decided to change, or pivot, the way we operate. One of those operational things that we came up with was to partner with Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) to help our children be safer."

So GRFD decided to team up with Grand Rapids Public Schools and host monthly fire safety messages that began back in March.  Officials say that each month students receive different messaging from Grand Rapids Fire through video and other digital platforms which will teach students about fire dangers and fire safety.

Grand Rapids Fire Chief John Lehman said in a press release,

“This new educational approach aims to empower residents to create fire-safe environments through information on installing and maintaining smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for early detection and notification, as well as creating exit strategies in case of fire emergency.”

The monthly lessons from the City of Grand Rapids' website are,

  • March: Change your clock/change your batteries, smoke alarm testing, and home escape planning.
  • April: Spring safety, toxic fume awareness, outdoor grilling safety, and recreational fire safety.
  • May: Gearing up for summer safety, arson awareness, and what to do in a fire emergency in a public building.
  • June: Fire safety and the great outdoors, fireworks safety, and water safety.
  • July: Youth fire safety, stop-drop-cover-and-roll, matches, and lighters, escape planning.
  • August: Eliminate hazards in living spaces, fire safety for people with disabilities, fire safety for older adults, fire safety for pets, and hoarding hazards.
  • September: Fire safety in public places, tampering with smoke alarms, carbon monoxide safety, and 911 for emergencies.
  • October: Elements of a fire-safe home, serving fire safety in the kitchen, home fire escape planning, and Halloween safety.
  • November: A fire-safe Thanksgiving, electrical hazards, home heating, and ice awareness.
  • December: Holiday fire safety, candles, and holiday décor hazards, New Year’s celebration safety, holiday cooking safety, and Christmas tree safety.


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