Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Police: Man Dies From CO Poisoning

Investigators Say Dead Raccoon Blocked Ventilation In Furnace

POSTED: Tuesday, October 27, 2009
UPDATED: 8:04 pm EDT October 27, 2009

TROY, Mich. -- A 92-year-old man died from carbon monoxide poisoning sometime over the weekend and a wild animal is to blame, Troy police said.
Officers were sent Monday to the home of Frederick William Braga on Binbrooke Street after a friend called police to say Braga had not shown up for a brunch meeting.
Police said officers and paramedics detected a strong odor in the house and a black residue throughout the home.
Braga was found dead in his basement, police said.
City investigators said they found a dead raccoon in the home's furnace, which likely blocked exhaust vapors from leaving through a vent pipe. Investigators said the blockage caused a build up of carbon monoxide in the home.
An autopsy Tuesday confirmed that Braga had died from CO poisoning.
Police said Braga was last seen alive Saturday evening by a neighbor, who said the man doesn't have family in the area.
Police said no carbon monoxide or smoke detectors were found in Braga's home.

Follow link for chimney safety video:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fox2 News features Guardian Alarm and Neighbor Net's Community Crime Fighting Program

High Tech Neighborhood Watch
Updated: Saturday, 24 Oct 2009, 6:46 PM EDTPublished : Saturday, 24 Oct 2009, 6:27 PM EDT
MT. CLEMENS - Residents say criminals have been taking over their Mt. Clemens neighborhood.. Rosanna Ondra of the Kendrick Area Neighborhood Watch Group says "I had someone come in the back door, they stole my daughter's bike and then my neighbor's house was broken into." The people who live here, tell us enough is enough. They formed a neighborhood watch and they are taking things a step further. On Saturday they held a fundraiser to buy cameras that can be placed throughout the park and neighborhood. The Macomb County's Swat Team was on hand to support their efforts. This watch group is a little different. Cyber space is playing a big role.
Click on the link to see Fox 2's Ronnie Dahl's full report.
To learn more about watching your neighborhood online click on the link

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Resident watchdogs can reduce burglaries

Laurie Wink
The News-Dispatch
Burglary refers to unlawful entry of a home, business or other place with intent to commit a crime. Usually, no one is present when a burglary occurs unlike robbery, which involves the use of force or fear to get someone's property. Burglars often act alone, Neitzel said, and sometimes small groups of juveniles act as a team. Flat-screen TVs are hot items now because they are light-weight and easy to sell for a hefty price. "Unfortunately, most people have them in the living room, facing the front of the house," Neitzel said, making them easy for burglars to spot.Neitzel said the best way to head off burglaries is to have an active neighborhood watch group with people who will call police when they see something unusual. Officers would rather check out a situation and find out everything is OK than not be called, Neitzel said."Pay attention to what goes on at the neighbor's house and report it to law enforcement," he said. "We've made some arrests where members of the public should have had a red flag and never called the department." Assistant Chief John Kintzele agreed successful arrests are made when people in the neighborhood make calls."The odds of a patrolman knowing someone is not in the right place is like hitting the lottery," he said.George Neagu, president of the Village Green Neighborhood Association, said Village Green has ranked among the top safest neighborhoods in Michigan City since he organized the group in 2003. "I felt we could do more as a group than as individuals," Neagu said. "We encourage more talking with each other in the neighborhood. We work really hard at that."He said Village Green residents value the neighborhood and feel part of it.Rich Murphy, president of the Elston Grove Neighborhood Association, said residents communicate directly to Sgt. Chris Yagelski, who attends monthly neighborhood association meetings and has a strong relationship with the community. "Residents understand they are the eyes and ears of the community," Murphy said. "The police can't do it all by themselves." Murphy said the Elston Grove residents have talked about the recent increase of burglaries in Michigan City and about ways to prevent them."Much of the prevention is common sense," Murphy said, running down a list of actions including: locking doors and windows; documenting serial numbers on property; and, most important, calling the police or the crime tip hotline when a resident sees something suspicious.Kintzele recommends calling police if someone knocks on the door and asks for a person you don't know, or offers to rake leaves but doesn't have a rake. They're trying to find out if anyone is home, he said. "About a third of burglaries are done by people who've visited your place," Kintzele said. To be prepared in case of a burglary, police advise homeowners to keep records of makes, models and serial numbers of their items and, if possible, to videotape them for later identification. Kintzele recommends filing out warranty cards included with big ticket items because manufacturers keep the information on file. Pawn shops in Michigan City are required by law to fax a daily list of items received to the police department so they can be compared with burglary reports. Having the necessary identification information improves the odds that items will be recovered. "If the information is there, it gives us the best chance to return items to the owner," Neitzel said. "There are times when we recover something but don't know who it belongs to." The pawn shop lists can help police identify burglars if the same name continues to come up. Neitzel is confident that most burglars will eventually get caught."You don't commit crimes repeatedly and not get caught," he said. "The percentage is high of being caught if they repeatedly do what they do, or if something leads us to them."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween safety tips make for spooky, fun celebration

Ghosts, ghouls and monsters aren't the only things to be afraid of this Halloween. Accidents and mishaps increase dramatically when children are out trick or treating. Anytime a child has an accident, it's tragic, and the last thing you want to happen is to have your child hurt on such a fun-filled holiday, ruining it in their minds forever.
“To avoid the many dangers children face while trick or treating, the first thing to use is your common sense,” said Lt. Denny Hughes of the Farmington Hills Fire Department. “Be aware of potential hazards and take the necessary precautions to eliminate them. You may want to consider attending an indoor party, and bypass the traditional chaos on Halloween night. In any event, trust your instincts. If it seems like it's wrong or a bad idea, it probably is,” he added.
Every possible hazard can't be covered, but here are some tips that will hopefully make for an enjoyable evening for everyone:
Try to wear flame retardant costumes if possible.
Try on your costume before wearing it. Then alterations can be made so that it actually fits and doesn't drag on the ground, causing you to trip.
Find a costume with lots of reflective trim on it.
Avoid masks if possible and use face makeup. This will allow for better vision in the darkness.
Make-up should be hypoallergenic and non-toxic.
Wear comfortable, practical shoes.
Keep all parts of your costume away from an open flame.
Don't carry fake swords, guns, knives or similar accessories that look authentic. If you do, be sure they are rubber, flexible and cannot harm anyone.
Carry a flashlight or glow stick so that you are easily seen at night.

Social media the new crime-fighter

From the break-in at Lindsay Lohan's Los Angeles home posted on YouTube to missing-person Twitter alerts from the Boca Raton police chief, social media sites are being used to fight crime and make our neighborhoods safer.A couple from Atlanta rigged their house with cameras, and after a burglary at the home, they posted the surveillance on YouTube. Word spread, several people viewed the video, and eventually, police were able to catch the burglars, according to a Christian Science Monitor article. Similarly, video of a break-in at actress Lindsay Lohan's house led to an arrest after the footage was posted on YouTube.The Broward County Sheriff's Office website,, has YouTube videos that can be shared. A free service called "Cyber Visor" sends text messages or e-mails if there is a crime or security concern in your area.If you live in Boca Raton or Boynton Beach, you can follow and interact with your police stations on Facebook and Twitter, where they post updates of crimes, safety tips and even ask the public for help.Janet Forte, from Miami, is a social media strategist who is using Twitter, Facebook and blogs to blast messages when people go missing. She started doing so after the disappearance of a friend, Lily Aramburo. Forte has thousands of followers on her Twitter account at media can be used not just to report crime, but also to prevent it.Form a neighborhood watch program and, instead of the old phone tree, create an online group using Ning, Yahoo or Google, where you can communicate, share information and get to know your neighbors.Send group messages instantly with Twitter updates and SMS alerts to check up on people, or if you see suspicious activities.If some people in your neighborhood watch group are tech-savvy, they could easily add crime maps, which show data on crimes committed in your neighborhood, and a sex offender locater to identify where accused sex offenders are residing.A great site to search for sexual offenders is, which allows you to receive e-mail alerts when an offender moves to your area and allows you to send Twitter updates about them.Social media has also become the first place people check during disasters. In the recent Southern California fires, people checked in with loved ones on Facebook, posted photos on Flickr and posted news reports on Twitter. Your neighborhood watch group could serve as a way to communicate with neighbors and get news updates during some emergency situations.And of course, follow and fan the Sun Sentinel on Facebook and Twitter for news updates on crime and during an emergency.Seth Liss is's News Community Manager. You may reach him at,0,4585315.column

Easy Ways to Keep a Home Safe While Away for the Holidays

Safety and security is an important concern for many homeowners. Around the holidays, it can be easy to overlook those concerns due to the increasingly busy schedule many people have between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
Unfortunately, putting home security on the backburner during the holiday season can prove to be a grievous error. Because extended vacations to visit family and friends are common during the holiday season, criminals often target this time of year thanks to empty homes they know will not be the hub of activity they usually are. To safeguard your home while you're out of town this holiday season, it's best to take a few precautionary measures to make a home less appealing to prospective burglars and criminals.
* Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up the mail. If your home doesn't have a mail slot in the front door, a telltale sign that you're away is an overstuffed mailbox. Before you leave, arrange to have your mail, newspapers and flyers picked up by a neighbor or friend. If you can, arrange to have newspaper delivery suspended for the duration of your trip. If you can't find someone to pick up your mail, you can ask the local post office to suspend delivery while you're out of town.
* Leave some lights on, including the Christmas lights. If your beautiful Christmas lights display glows in the weeks leading up to Christmas but then suddenly disappears once the holiday arrives, thieves can probably determine that your house is empty and therefore a good target. By leaving a kitchen light on inside your house and keeping your Christmas lights on a timer, you're at least giving the appearance that someone is home, and a yard illuminated thanks to your decorative lights makes it much more difficult for potential thieves to creep around your house under the cloak of darkness. Be sure to string up some lights in the backyard as well.
* Secure all windows. Along with making sure your windows are locked, hang thick curtains or blinds in all windows. These make it difficult for prospective burglars to see into a home and look for valuables as well as determine if the house appears lived in or not. And just as with sliding patio doors, make sure any sliding windows have similar anti-lift protection.
* Give someone you trust a spare key to your home. Never leave a spare key in the familiar places, such as under a doormat or in the mailbox. Chances are, even the most incompetent burglar is skilled enough to look under the mat or in the mailbox. Instead, give a key to a neighbor you can trust or a family member. Homeowners who just moved into their new digs should replace the keys and locks immediately, since there's no telling who might have had access to your home before you lived there. * Join or start a neighborhood watch. Many neighborhoods today feature a neighborhood watch program where any suspicious activity can be monitored and reported to police by your neighbors when you're home or away. Particularly when you're out of town, this is a great way to provide yourself with some peace of mind. If you neighborhood doesn't have a watch program, ask the neighbors if they would be interested in one. If so, consult with the local police department for tips on making your neighborhood watch as successful as possible.
* Light all of the entrances. Keep each and every entryway well lit while you're away. Doing so makes it harder for prospective burglars to inspect a home and break in. This is even more important for homeowners who do not decorate their homes with Christmas lights. Also, before leaving for an extended period of time, remember to replace all light bulbs with fresh ones, assuring that your lights will burn brightly throughout the duration of your vacation.
* Take good care of the lawn. A great place for a burglar to hide and go unnoticed is in bushes that are not well trimmed. Take this option away from him by making sure all of bushes have been trimmed neatly so he doesn't have easy access to a hiding spot he can use to scope out your house, even while you're home. It's also wise to strategically plant security bushes near any potential points of entry for a burglar. Placing a rose bush, for instance, near all ground floor windows is a serious deterrent for a potential burglar since rose bushes, while beautiful when in bloom, are also loaded with thorns.
* Put away patio furniture and other backyard tools. Household items strewn about the yard could facilitate a burglary. Ladders, chairs and boxes should be stored in a locked shed or garage, as a burglar can simply use the ladder to climb up to a second story window. Also, simple garden tools can be used to break windows or shimmy open doors, so lock those away as well.

Friday, October 16, 2009

State police seek input from residents to solve rash of break-ins in southwest Lapeer County

By Liz Shaw Flint Journal
October 16, 2009, 8:27AMLAPEER COUNTY, Michigan — State police are warning residents to be on the alert and take extra precautions due to a rash of home break-ins that have been occurring recently in southwest Lapeer County.
About 10 break-ins have occurred since the beginning of October, said State police Detective Mark Reaves. Most have been in four townships: Lapeer, Metamora, Elba and Hadley. The majority have been in Hadley and Metamora townships.
Evidence has led police to believe at least some of the break-ins are connected. All have been daytime crimes, with entry typically gained through a broken window.
"We're asking people if they see any suspicious activity to report it," said Reaves. "If somebody knocks on your door and when you answer it, they ask a dumb question or anything raises a red flag, try to get the license plate and a description of them and the vehicle and call 911.
"That's what these criminals do. They go from house to house and if someone's home, they'll move on to the next one."
Keep all doors locked and make sure alarm systems are in good working order, said Reaves. Don't store valuables in obvious, common locations such as a jewelry box or top dresser drawer.
So far, the thieves have stolen mostly jewelry, cash and other small items in the current break-ins.
"The people committing these (break ins) are not doing it to feed their families. They're doing it to feed their drug habit," said Reaves. "Don't let the hard times we're in fool anyone. They're breaking the law to feed their drug habit and they won't stop until they get caught."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Teen arrested in attempted home invasion

By Liz Shaw Flint Journal
October 15, 2009, 7:51AMFLINT, Michigan — Police were called to a break-in in progress at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday at a home on Winthrop Blvd. south of W. Pierson Road.
Whiile enroute to the scene, a police dispatcher relayed a description of the invader to the officer, and that the suspect had entered the residence through a rear window and was wearing a blue and white coat.
Upon arrival, police observed a basement window on the west side of the house had been broken out and an audible alarm was sounding.
After talking to the witnesses, a 15-year-old male was arrested nearby for attempted home invasion.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fire Kills 6 Across Michigan

3 Year Old Dies due to fire started by Candles
Multiple fires across the state have lead to fatalities due to fire in the residential setting. 4 fires have killed six people on separate occasions accross Michigan. It seems that many of the fires occurred in homes with smoke alarms that were either not working or were not heard at the time of the fire, although none of the homes was protected with residential sprinklers.
Remember as we head out of fire prevention week, it is critical for us to continue to promote working smoke alarms, proper operational response with active fire prevention efforts. Our condolences for the loss to the various communities, families, and responding fire department
The first fire last Tuesday night killed a Madison Heights man in his room off the garage. According to the Detroit Free Press, the fire may have been started by a cigarette and was called in by the mans grandson. Firefighters arrived to find fire in the area of origin and the man trapped inside.
The second fire occurred in Lee Township on the West Side of the state. The living room caught on fire, where 9 people were staying. Rescuers and family members attempted to save the 3 year old but were unsuccessful due to the heave fire. According to Fox 17 news, the fire was accidentally started by candles that were being used to light the home that was without power.

Monday, October 12, 2009

10 home-maintenance tasks to do before winter hits

Scripps Howard News Service
Here's my top-10 "fall maintenance to-do" list to guide you toward needed repairs before winter's onslaught forces you indoors.
1. Before you use any fossil-fuel-burning appliance — such as a gas- or wood-fired furnace, stove, boiler or fireplace — the chimney, vent or flue needs to be inspected for blockages or damage. A damaged flue is hazardous and can lead to carbon-monoxide poisoning or, in the case of a fireplace or wood stove, a house fire. Hire a professional to inspect the venting systems.
2. Change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors. Smoke alarms should be replaced every five years.
3. Visually inspect the roof and gutters for signs of damage or leaks. Clean the gutters and extend the runoff drains at least 6 feet from the home's foundation. Roof repairs should be made before the temperatures drop and the damp weather makes proper repairs almost impossible.
4. Have the home's heating system inspected and serviced for optimum operating efficiency and safety. If you heat your home with a gas- or oil-fired furnace or boiler, the flames and oxygen levels should be adjusted and the heat exchanger inspected for cracks or damage. Heat pumps need to be cleaned, and refrigerant levels checked by a qualified service technician. Fans, switches, capacitors, circuits and reversing valves also need to be inspected in operation.
5. Change furnace filters. Why is this on a fall maintenance list? A dirty filter is the No. 1 cause of inefficiency for a forced air heating/cooling system. A dirty filter blocks airflow through the fan, which can damage not only the fan, but also the outside unit of a heat pump/air conditioner. In addition, a clean filter delivers cleaner, healthier air to the home.
6. On these cooler days, it would be a good idea to check the insulation in the attic. Heat rises, and a poorly insulated attic allows all that expensive warm air to escape through the roof. The summer storms can blow through an attic, creating huge piles of any type of loose-fill insulating materials. Use an extending paint pole with a roller attached to spread the loose insulation evenly. Call your local building official to see how much insulation is needed for your area, and add more if necessary. Approximately 95 percent of the attics I inspect need additional insulation just to meet minimum standards.
7. Inspect the openings around exterior windows, doors and any other crack or opening on the wall of the home. Homes constructed after 1980 should have a thermal barrier of insulation inside the walls, but cracks and openings on the outside allow cold air to bypass the insulation and cool the home. Caulk and seal any opening you can safely reach. Replace any cracked or broken glass.
8. Remove garden hoses, and drain and store for winter. A hose left connected to an outside faucet can cause the faucet to freeze and break inside the walls of the home. Every time you use the faucet after it has been damaged, it will leak to the interior of the home. The leak will be out of sight and can, therefore, cause a lot of damage before the problem is discovered.
9. Replace the outside light bulbs. If Murphy is right, and he usually is, your lights will go out under the least favorable conditions for replacement. Any light bulb that has a standard screw-in "Edison"base should be replaced with one of the newer CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs to save energy.
10. Inspect the foundation crawlspace of your home. Problems with plumbing leaks, flooding, decayed wood, damaged insulation, pest entry, damaged ductwork, etc., often lurk in the crawlspace where no one wants to go. A vast majority of the homes I inspect have very few problems in the areas that are occupied and observed daily by the homeowner. It's only when I enter the darkness of a cramped crawlspace that I discover hidden and latent defects that have festered for years out of sight and mind.
If you are unable or unwilling, and most of us are, to enter the crawlspace, hire a professional home inspector to check it for you and to issue a written report of his findings. You can locate a qualified home inspector at
Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Write to him with home-improvement questions at Sorry, no personal replies.

How does carbon monoxide differ from carbon dioxide, and how do detectors work?

How does carbon monoxide differ from carbon dioxide, and how do carbon monoxide detectors work?

If you burn carbon or things that contain carbon (such as wood, oil, and natural gas) in the presence of enough oxygen, you get carbon dioxide - a molecule made of one carbon atom attached to two oxygen atoms.
If there isn’t enough oxygen (when air flow is impeded, say, by a dirty burner or an inefficient engine), you get some carbon monoxide - a molecule made of a carbon atom and just one oxygen atom.
Think of it as a product of incomplete burning. Indeed, one sign that a flame is likely to produce carbon monoxide is that it’s sooty, or orange or yellow, due to the presence of incandescent bits of unburned carbon. A cleanly burning flame producing little carbon monoxide should be pale and bluish.
The big danger of carbon monoxide is that it binds tightly to hemoglobin and prevents oxygen from being attached to it and transported through the blood to the brain and other organs. Blood, as you probably learned in high school biology, also carries carbon dioxide, but not in ways that prevent oxygen from being transported.
Carbon monoxide is odorless, so if you’re breathing it, the only warnings you get are sleepiness, headache, and nausea, by which time you might be quite badly poisoned. You can easily lose consciousness before you realize you’re in danger. If things haven’t gone too far, fresh air will provide enough oxygen to eventually displace the carbon monoxide, and in this way you can recover.
Some detectors are based on chemicals - sometimes analogs of hemoglobin - that change color when they react with carbon monoxide, and this color change can be used to set off an alarm or be seen directly.
Another approach is based on a sort of battery called a fuel cell, in which a reaction between carbon monoxide and oxygen (in a way, finishing off the incomplete combustion that produced the carbon monoxide) produces an electrical signal. Finally, there are devices in which a heated piece of tin dioxide changes its electrical resistance in the presence of carbon monoxide.
Each detector has advantages and disadvantages, depending on how sensitive and fast it has to be, how much electricity it takes, and how long it will last before it needs replacing.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very real risk, so be sure to have properly working detectors in your home.
Ask Dr. Knowledge is written by Northeastern University physicist John Swain. E-mail questions to or write to Dr. Knowledge, c/o The Boston Globe, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819.

Family Fire Safety Tips for Your Community

By Tom Kiurski
Most people place as much importance on family fire safety as they do on rearranging their sock drawers. But when you consider that more than 80 percent of all fire deaths in the United States occur in residences, it just makes good sense to have your community take a few minutes to devise their home fire escape plan.
Here are some things to consider as you work to promote family safety in your community.
Overhead plansMeet groups in your community and have them map out an overhead plan of their homes on a piece of paper and draw in the walls that let them see a "birds eye" view of each room. If they have more than one floor, put each floor on a separate piece of paper.
Have the families mark in the primary escape path for each room in the house, usually consisting of following the door out of a room and out the main door of the house. Then, have them make a secondary escape path, in case the primary path is blocked by heat, smoke and/or fire. This is usually a window out of each room. They need to make sure they open freely, and that the person who normally sleeps in bedrooms can easily open them. An outside meeting place is a necessity.
Smoke alarmsThese are an inexpensive way to get an early warning in case there is smoke in their homes. There is a lot of talk about types of sensing technology, and we should suggest that they spend a bit more on smoke alarms that have "dual sensing technology," that includes both ionization and photoelectric sensing chambers.
There should be a minimum of one smoke alarm per floor, with units outside of any sleeping area. Having more only increases their warning time, so they should avoid a few places prone to nuisance alarms such as bathrooms, kitchens and by fireplaces.
Safety laddersFor those in your audience who have family members who sleep upstairs, and slipping out a window onto the ground is not an option, they should purchase safety ladders. They are compact and fit nicely under a bed or in a closet until needed. They simply hook onto the window sill and can be descended from there. They are available in two- and three-story models, so measure how far from window to ground each homeowner needs and have them purchase the appropriate ladder.
Fire extinguishersThese make good sense to have in any home to extinguish small fires that may break out while citizens are close by. Most home fires start in the kitchen, so it makes great sense to keep one there. If they want to get a few more, the garage and basement are good places to keep them. Suggest they only purchase extinguishers rated for “A, B and C” type fires, as these cover any fire they may have in their home. Teach those in your class and have them pass on to the family how to use them, but ensure they never delay calling the fire department in order to use a portable fire extinguisher.
You should stress to them that the most important part of any family safety plan is practicing the plan with all members of the family present. The hardest part is the few minutes needed to develop the plan, but you can present it as a fun, family assignment. The easy part is practicing it at least twice a year. Tom Kiurski has been in the fire service since 1981. He is the Training Coordinator and Director of Fire Safety Education for Livonia, Mich., Fire & Rescue. He has served as a firefighter/paramedic, engineer and lieutenant prior to his appointment as the training coordinator. He has earned an Associates Degree in Fire Science from Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Mich., a Bachelors Degree in Fire and Safety Engineering Technology from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University. Tom teaches fire service-related courses at local colleges and fire academies. He has presented at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis seven times, as well as numerous state and local conferences. He has written more than 250 articles on fire safety education and training that have appeared in various fire service publications.

Deaths focus attention on fire safety

By Rex Hall Jr. Kalamazoo Gazette
October 09, 2009, 11:29PMKALAMAZOO — As National Fire Prevention Week wraps up today, local disaster-relief officials are reminding residents to have a home escape plan and practice it in case of a fire.“You never know,” said Vicki Eichstaedt, spokeswoman for the Greater Kalamazoo Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. “It’s just so important.”Eichstaedt’s plea came this week as Red Cross officials were assisting two related families in Pullman who were displaced early Thursday by a house fire that killed 2-year-old Scott Ray Bogseth. Nine other people in the one-story house at 1113 58th St. escaped.Scott, who would have turned 3 today, was the fifth person in a week to die in a house fire reported in southwestern Michigan. A fire that investigators said was sparked by a wood stove that had been installed improperly killed David and Cindy Hoaglin and their 15-year-old daughter, Chelsea, on Oct. 1. On Sunday, 48-year-old Michael Guy was killed in a fire at his residence in Allegan County’s Monterey Township.The fire Thursday, which was reported at 12:37 a.m., was most likely caused by “careless candle use,” said Sgt. Scott LeRoy of the Michigan State Police.LeRoy said the fire started in the living room of the 58th Street residence, which had no electricity because of a power outage caused by high winds on Tuesday, and that the room was engulfed in flames by the time it was discovered. Family members who escaped got out of the house through the windows of three bedrooms where they had been sleeping, and Scott had been sleeping in one of the bedrooms with his father, mother and a sibling when the fire started, the sergeant said.“I think what we have to realize is that a fire can happen to us, so obviously we need to be prepared,” State Fire Marshal Ron Farr said Friday. “The two big things are early warning and an escape plan — knowing what to do and practicing it.”To increase home safety in case of a fire, Farr recommends that residents:v Install smoke detectors in each bedroom, in the hallway outside of bedrooms and on each level of a house.v Replace any smoke detector that is 10 years or older.v Have a home escape plan and practice it with family members.v Ensure that escape routes, such as windows and doors are accessible at all times.v Install a mix of ionization smoke detectors and photoelectric smoke detectors in a home. Farr said ionization smoke detectors respond quicker to a fire’s flame, while photoelectric detectors respond more quickly to smoldering fires that produce heavy smoke.According to the National Fire Protection Association, only one in four people have developed and practiced a home-escape plan in case of a fire. The organization said escape plans should be practiced twice a year, and important facets of an escape plan are knowing at least two ways out of every room and having a designated meeting place for family members to go to once they’ve exited the home.

Tips on Burglary Prevention

I’m sure during you life time many of you have been a victim of some type of crime. Many losses in crimes, you would just go through your insurance and it wouldn’t effect or change your life. When it comes to being a victim of a home burglary things change. You feel invaded, you lose jewelry that has sentimental value, savings that is kept in your home, you have the hassle of filing a police report and waiting for the Evidence Collection team to search for fingerprints, etc.
When walking down a street It is not too difficult to figure out who is home and who is away or on vacation. Burglars know exactly what there looking for. The point of these Burglary Tips is to diffuse them by thinking you are home. Please follow these safety tips carefully and hopefully you won’t be the next victim.
If you are planning on being away:
*Stop the mail deliveries with your local Post Office. (Having an overstuffed mail box is a sign that you are not home)
*Have a neighbor collect any flyers, newspaper or magazines dropped off at your door.
*Ask a neighbor to utilize at least one of your garbage cans and to put it out a night before collection as if you would do if your were home. (please remember to ask them to pull back the empty can)
*If the weather is warm leave one air conditioner on fan. (Fan on will defray your electric cost) If you feel uncomfortable doing so with a window unit than you can leave a pail filled with water outside underneath your unit. (This may look like your unit may have just turned off)
*Leave a few radios on in the house. (Kitchen and master bedroom)
*Make sure your shabbos clocks are turning on and off your lights. (A house without any lights on in evening is a sign you may not be home)
*Keep window shades slightly open but not enough for someone to look in to see an unoccupied home.
*Make sure all windows and doors are locked and secure.
*If you have a driveway ask a neighbor to utilize it.
*If you have an alarm make sure to use it. (give a trusted neighbor a key to your house and alarm number in order to shut off if your alarm is faulty)
*Make sure any outside lights you may have are turned on.
*If you have a camera system please make sure it records.
*If you don’t have an alarm, outside lighting, window gates, etc. and would like to upgrade your security options you may call your local precinct Crime Prevention Officer to get a security survey (free of charge).
(Prepared for YWN by Flatbush Shomrim)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Burton Fire and Rescue to give away hundreds of smoke detectors

By Teri Banas
October 08, 2009, 4:54PM
BURTON, Michigan -- Free smoke detectors and a slew of exciting demonstrations and children’s events are coming to the Meijer’s parking lot, 2333 S. Center Road, on Saturday when Burton Fire and Rescue hosts its annual Open House.
The event runs noon to 4 p.m.
“Our whole goal is to make people aware of fire prevention and if they did have a fire what they should do,” said Burton Deputy Kenneth Gould.
The department has ordered 650 smoke detectors to give away during the program. Firefighters will install them at no cost for those city residents who need the assistance, he added.
Last year, all but 20 smoke detectors were snatched up.
Several area fire departments will participate. Shiawassee County will bring its “smoke house,” which simulates a home fire. Children will be allowed to crawl through the trailer in an exercise to find an exit. “Our goal is to teach children what to do if the situation occurs in their home, so they wouldn’t panic, and would know what to do,” Gould said.
Gould added that residents should check their smoke alarms twice a year and practice their evacuation plans annually. “Absolutely, families should have this conversation at least once a year, more often with younger children,” he said.
Other demonstrations will include how to use a fire extinguisher, rides on the Grand Blanc aerial truck, and a tour of the Genesee County hazardous materials truck.
There will be face painting, clowns, balloons and inflatables. Meijer will provide refreshments. A raffle takes place at 3 p.m. for a Nano I-Pod for kids and a Garmin GPS Navigator System for adults.
Reflective address signs will be sold for $10 and $12 with posts.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cadillac Police investigate two home invasions

CADILLAC - The Cadillac Police Department is investigating two home invasions in the city, one on Holly Road and the other on Maurer Street.
The Holly Road incident occurred between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on October 6 in the 600 block of Holly Road. The suspect(s) gained entry by breaking a window in the rear of the house. Stolen property included prescription medication, jewelry and a video camera.
No one was home at the time of the break-in.
The second incident occurred at 4:20 a.m. on Oct. 7. The suspects entered through a rear window.
The residents were home at the time, and one confronted the suspects, who ran from the house. No one was injured and nothing was taken.
The Cadillac Police Department deployed its K-9 unit and tracked the suspects for a short distance. Officers searched the area with assistance from the Wexford County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police. The suspects remain at large.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Cadillac Police Department at 775-3491 or, if wishing to remain anonymous, the Silent Observer at 779-9215. A reward is offered in both incidents.
Officers from the Cadillac Police Department will be contacting residents living near both addresses.
Director of Public Safety, Jeff Hawke, said, "Citizens are reminded to lock their doors and windows, use exterior lighting and call 911 immediately to report any type of suspicious activity in their neighborhoods." 775-NEWS (6397)

‘Stay fire smart, don’t get burned’

Fire departments prepare for Fire Prevention Week
By Sharon Stone
Published: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 8:57 AM EDT
 With the changing weather and falling leaves, more residents will be burning, and in some cases, not paying heed to the changing winds. This is a concern of Argentine Township Assistant Fire Chief Jim Reid. The area has experienced a number of major fires, including the fire at Silver Lake Hills in Fenton, when an entire apartment building was destroyed last February. It was demolished. Local fire chiefs urge all residents to keep fire safety a top priority. Another fire, not to be forgotten anytime soon, destroyed the historical Union Block building in downtown Linden on May 18, 2006. The entire building was later demolished, and the LaFontaine family has since purchased the property, with hopes of rebuilding in the future. In April, a home on White Lake Road in Tyrone Township was destroyed by fire. The homeowner was burning brush in a fire pit, which spread and caught the home on fire.
In 2007, fire departments across the country responded to 399,000 home fires. Those fires killed nearly 2,900 people. Eighty-four percent of all fire deaths resulted from home fires. As the temperatures are beginning to fall, Reid said this means more and more people are starting up their fireplaces, wood stoves and furnaces. He is urging homeowners to have these heating devices checked out, cleaned and maintained for their family’s safety. Fire Prevention Week runs from Sunday, Oct. 4 through Saturday, Oct. 10. This year’s theme is “Stay Fire Smart, Don't Get Burned.” In recognition of this initiative, area fire departments are opening their fire stations to the community.

Fenton Fire Department 
The Fenton Fire Department is holding an open house from 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 205 East Caroline St. The fire department responded to 378 calls so far for 2009 and of that amount, 63 of those calls were for fires. Fire Chief Robert Cairnduff said numerous free activities are planned for children, including a bounce house, slide, kids’ water ball, rides in the bucket of the ladder truck and Jaws of Life demonstrations. Also on tap is a visit by the University of Michigan Survival Flight helicopter. “The city of Fenton Fire Department wants to help the children of Fenton by educating them about fire safety, so they can make better choices, and also know what to do if there is a fire,” said Cairnduff.

Argentine Township Fire Department 
In September alone, the fire department has responded to 39 calls. Reid said there have been fewer fire runs, while the number of medical emergencies increased. The Argentine Township Fire Department expects to hold an open house at its fire hall sometime in October, however, the date and time has not yet been determined. Fire safety presentations are being planned at elementary schools in the Linden district.

Linden Fire Department 
The Linden Fire Department will be holding its annual open house from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. Linden Fire Chief Brian Will said firefighters are planning on going to Hyatt Elementary School and Linden Elementary School on Friday, Oct. 9 to present fire safety to the children.

Fenton Township Fire Department 
The Fenton Township Fire Department has responded to 22 fires this year. It will be holding its annual open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 at Station No. 2, at 5120 Owen Rd. A variety of informative, yet fun, activities are planned for the whole family to enjoy. Firefighters will show how they perform an extrication and hoses will be out for the kids to play with. Brochures with fire safety tips will be available and smoke detectors will be available to those in need. Firefighter and fire prevention officer, Theresa Hajac said they would also be providing reflective stickers that parents can stick on bedroom doors. These stickers will aid firefighters if they are searching for a child, or any family member, in a smoke-filled home. On Saturday, Oct. 3, firefighters with the Fenton Township Fire Department will be at The Home Depot on Silver Parkway from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children will have opportunities to climb inside the trucks and talk with firefighters.

North Oakland County Fire Authority (NOCFA) 
NOCFA will be hosting an open house at its new station, 5051 Grange Hall Rd., from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24. Chief Jeremy Lintz said the new station would be on display, along with fire prevention information. There will be children’s activities and refreshments.

Village of Holly Fire Department 
The Village of Holly Fire Department will visit elementary schools in the Holly Area Schools district, and Adelphian Academy, said Assistant Chief Paul Schimmeyer. Firefighters will visit Holly, Patterson and Karl Richter schools. They educate 500 to 700 children per year. In addition, the village fire department will be open on Halloween night, for parents to bring their children and have Halloween goodies checked for any tampering. Schimmeyer said the department distributes coloring books for children, and printed information for parents.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Be aware of fire’s danger

By Ryan Secord, Staff Writer
Hillsdale Daily News
Posted Oct 04, 2009 @ 03:20 PM

Hillsdale, Mich. —
All across the state of Michigan fire services are being encouraged to show the importance of fire safety to citizens in their respective regions.
Oct. 4-10 has been declared Fire Prevention Week by Gov. Jennifer Granholm with this year's program focusing on burn awareness, prevention and promoting public understanding of the leading causes of home fires.
State Fire Marshal Ronald Farr had several tips to ensure preventable accidents do not occur in the home.
“Ideally a home should have one fire alarm per bedroom, and one outside the bedroom in each level of a given home,” he said.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Catching Criminals

With more and more public safety departments turning to social media to stay informed, it is becoming more commonplace for social media to be utilized in actual police work as well. In July, for example, the Boston Police used Twitter and Facebook to track down bicycle thieves, while the Los Angeles Police Department utilized YouTube in an effort to locate criminals that broke into actress Lindsay Lohan’s home in August.
And using social media is becoming a common trend in modern police work. From police in New Zealand using Facebook to catch a burglar, to police in Ohio utilizing social networks to circulate pictures of criminals, social media tools are becoming the modern equivalents of the Post Office wanted poster.
Police are also using the things people post on social networks and blogs as a way to track down law breakers. “We are using this (Facebook) as a crime-fighting tool. It’s becoming pretty common,” said Indiana, Pennsylvania Police Chief William Sutton after his department utilized Facebook photos and videos posted on YouTube to identify out-of-hand party-goers at a post-Super Bowl street gathering last February.
While the latter is a case of what happens when criminals incriminate themselves on social networks, it is clear that social media tools are being used in smart ways by police departments and neighborhood watch groups to make our cities safer.