At E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety, an organization that provides fire safety education and training to children and adults, we want to remind readers that seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragic injury or death.
Fifteen to 20 years ago, homes had more “natural” materials in them such as cotton, wool and untreated wood. Because of this, you had 15-20 minutes to escape in the event of a fire. With all of the synthetic materials in homes today, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help give everyone enough time to get out.
According to a National Fire Protection Association survey, 71% of households have a fire escape plan, but only 47% of those have practiced it. This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape,” shines a spotlight on the importance of practicing the plan.
You may see or hear firefighters and other community advocates throughout October teaching the community about the dangers of fire and smoke, the importance of having working smoke alarms, along with creating and practicing a home escape plan.
Why home escape planning and practice matter:
- This ensures everyone knows what to do in a fire and is prepared to escape quickly and safely.
- When the smoke alarm sounds in a real fire, it’s too late to start the plan.
What should be included in an escape plan:
- Draw or map out the layout of your home, marking two exits from every room (typically a door and a window) and a path from each exit to the outside.
- Pick a meeting place outside in front of your home where everyone will meet upon exiting (examples include a sidewalk, fence, driveway, or neighbor’s house).
- Mark the location of all smoke alarms in your home (there should be a least one on every level, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas).
- Make sure everyone knows how to call 911 from their phone or a neighbor’s phone once they’re safety outside.
It’s essential to practice the escape plan with all members of your household at least twice a year so everyone knows what to do if there is a fire.
At E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety, we want to remind readers that seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragic injury or death. And fire safety education isn’t just for school children. Teens, adults and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for everyone to take the time every October to make sure they understand how to stay safe.
About Fire Prevention Week
Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week in October. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in the United States. During Fire Prevention Week and all month long, children, adults and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to decrease casualties caused by fires.