By Mike Kruzman /

With a large increase in fire deaths throughout the state, the Michigan Fire Marshal is encouraging Livingston County residents and others to be safe.

According to the Bureau of Fire Services, fire-related deaths are up 144% compared to this time last year. A release from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs claims these deaths have all been accidental and preventable. LARA reports that two-thirds of fire fatalities in Michigan involve adults over the age 40, with the majority occurring in the living room or in a bedroom.

Michigan Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer said there are some common-sense tips to prevent, escape, and survive a fire, and that it is important to share them with loved ones and neighbors for their safety. He said if he can get one message out, it is to “get out and stay out” as quickly as possible if a fire occurs in your home. Smoking is the leading cause of house fires, and most space heater fires are caused by being too close to curtains, bedding, or upholstered furniture. Working smoke detectors reduce the risk of dying in a house fire by 60-percent. The National Fire Protection Association recommends having alarms on each floor and in each sleeping area, interconnecting them if possible. During these winter months, clear snow away from exterior doors to allow for a quick exit. Have a home fire escape plan that the entire family has practiced, including two ways out of every room and a meeting place outside. Also, don’t call 9-1-1 until after you exit your home.

See a video for more tips on how to keep you and loved ones safe here: