Fire prevention saves lives
Fires can happen at any time so preparation is key to making sure your family stays safe. FILE PHOTO
You can never be too prepared when educating your family about how to stay safe in the event of a fire.
Oct. 6-12 is Fire Prevention Week and to raise awareness, the National Fire Protection Association and area fire companies are holding events around the country and throughout the Times News coverage area.
This year’s theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!”
The campaign works to educate everyone about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.
“This year’s campaign works to celebrate people of all ages who learn about home fire escape planning and practice, bring that information home, and spur their families to action,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “From young students who learn about the campaign at school to parents who attend a community event like a fire station open house — all of them truly are heroes because they’re taking steps to make their households much, much safer from fire.”
National statistics show that in 2017, U.S. fire departments responded to 357,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,630 fire deaths and 10,600 fire injuries.
On average, seven people died in a fire in a home per day during 2012 to 2016.
“These numbers show that home fires continue to pose a significant threat to safety,” Carli said. “In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.”
“Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” also focuses on what a home escape plan entails and the value of practicing it. These messages are more important than ever, particularly because today’s homes burn faster than ever.
Carli notes that synthetic fibers used in modern home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight construction, are contributing factors to the increased burn rate.
“People tend to underestimate their risk to fire, particularly at home. That overconfidence lends itself to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice,” said Carli. “But in a fire situation, we’ve seen time and again that advance planning can make a potentially lifesaving difference.”
A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas.
It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home.
Home escape plans should be practiced twice a year by all members of the household.
Locally, area fire departments are preparing to educate the public through visits to schools, open houses and other events.