Fire Safety & Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness for you and your family should be an all hazard approach. Whether the emergency is a tornado, hurricane, snowstorm, earthquake, fire, or terrorist attack, you can prepare yourself. The following information will provide you and your family with vital information and assurance that you are ready.

Preparing Makes Sense

The likelihood of you and your family surviving a house fire depends equally on having a working smoke detector and an exit strategy, as well as a well-trained fire department. The same is true for surviving a terrorist attack. You must have the tools and plans in place to make it on your own, at least for a period of time, no matter where you are when disaster strikes. Just like having a working smoke detector, preparing for the unexpected makes sense. Get ready now.

Emergency Supplies

Just like having a working smoke detector in your home, having emergency supply kits will put the tools you may need at your fingertips. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, or longer. While there are many things that might make you more comfortable, think first about fresh water, food and clean air. Remember to include, and periodically rotate, medications you take every day such as insulin and heart medicine. Plan to store items in an easy-to-carry bag, such as a shopping bag, backpack or duffle bag.

Consider two kits. In one, put everything you will need to stay where you are and make it on your own. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to get away.

Emergency Planning

You should plan in advance, what you will do in an emergency. Be prepared to assess the situation, use common sense and whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Think about the places where your family spends time: school, work and other places you frequent. Ask about their emergency plans. Find out how they will communicate with families during an emergency. If they do not have an emergency plan, consider helping develop one.

Specific Terrorist Threats

It is important to remember there are significant differences among potential terrorist threats that will influence the decision you make and the actions you take. By beginning a process of learning about these specific threats, you are preparing yourself to react.

Winter Preparedness

Are you prepared for winter storm conditions? Read our winter awareness packet (PDF) of information. Travelers are also encouraged to check Michigan State Police Travel Information and Michigan Department of Transportation Road Incident Map to check road conditions before traveling.

Smoke Detectors

Are you equipped with a smoke detector and does it work? Smoke detectors are an important means to alert you and your loved ones in the event of a fire. The following guidelines are important for your family's well being.

  • Install at least one smoke detector on every level of your home and in each bedroom. Follow manufacturer's directions for details on proper placement and installation of detectors.
  • Test detectors every month following the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Replace smoke detector batteries at least once a year.
  • Keep extra batteries on hand.
  • Never remove a detector's batteries or borrow them for other uses.
  • Vacuum the detector cover regularly with a soft brush to keep dust and cobwebs from interfering with the device's sensitivity.
  • Never use detergents to clean your detectors.
  • Be careful not to get paint on the detector.
  • Replace smoke detectors every ten years.
  • Always test your detectors when you return from vacation or an extended absence.
  • If a detector fails to test with a fresh battery, replace or repair it immediately.

If you hear the smoke detector sound, leave your home immediately following your family's escape plan. Crawl low and feel each door with the back of your hand before opening. Close doors as you exit. If your primary exit is blocked, use your secondary exit to escape.

Once out of the home, go to your family's designated safe meeting place. Call 911 from a neighbor's home. Give your address first, then your name and phone number. Stay on the line until the operator has all the necessary information.

Properly installed and maintained smoke detectors can double your chances of surviving a fire!

Additional Information

In all cases, remain calm. Be prepared to adapt this information to your personal circumstances and make every effort to follow instructions received from authorities on the scene. Above all, stay calm, be patient and think before you act. With these simple preparations, you can be ready for the unexpected. If you have a working smoke detector, you understand that preparing makes sense. Get ready now.

For more detailed information on Emergency Preparedness, you can call 1-800-BE-READY (800-237-3239) or go online to The brochure "Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now" can be obtained at both DeWitt Township Fire Department Stations.