Winter seems to be the time for devastating fires, as proven by recent events.
In the last two months, fires in Calumet, Dollar Bay, South Range and New Allouez have destroyed property and in some cases left the victims homeless.
The story is the same across the region; The Big Powderhorn Ski Lodge was destroyed last week by fire, and residents in Bark River and Marinette County were killed when they were unable to escape from their burning homes.
If it's been a while since you checked your home for fire safety, now would seem to be a good time.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside all sleeping areas, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
Yet, many homes still don't have that level of protection, reports the National Fire Protection Association.
Unfortunately, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths per year result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms at all or no working smoke alarms. Many homes have a lone smoke alarm, which is insufficient.
Smoke alarms must be installed in all bedrooms, not just near them, to ensure that everyone is alerted in time to escape safely.
Smoke alarms can cut the chance of dying in a fire in half, but they must be working properly to do so.
Data from the National Fire Protection Association shows that many homes have smoke alarms that aren't working or maintained properly, usually because of missing, disconnected or dead batteries.
If your smoke alarm is an older model, replace it with one that takes lithium batteries that will last the life of the unit.
The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping. Children and senior citizens are most at risk and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely.
Children are at increased risk of dying in a home fire because they often become scared and confused when a fire erupts.
Make sure your family has an escape plan in place, and that children know what to do in case they cannot communicate with you during a fire.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers some easy checklists to help keep your family and possessions safe. Visit cpsc.gov to learn more.