If you woke up to a fire in your home, how much time do you think you would have to get to safety? According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one-third of Americans households who made and estimate they thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. Unfortunately, the time available is often less.
That’s why the Guthrie Fire Department is teaming up with NFPA during Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, 2012, to urge residents to “Have Two Ways Out!” This year’s theme focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.
In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage.
“One home structure was reported every 85 seconds in 2010,” says Eric Harlow, Fire Chief of the Guthrie Fire Department. “Fire is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize. Having a tried and true escape plan with two ways is essential to ensuring your family’s safety should fire break out in your home.”
Chief Harlow recommends the following tips for planning your family’s escape:
- Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.
- Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they’ve escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.
- Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan.
- Have a grown-up sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in your home.
- Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and remind grown-ups to have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.
The Guthrie Fire Department will be hosting activities with all area schools during Fire Prevention Week to promote “Have Two Ways Out!” Through these educational, family-oriented activities, residents can learn more about the importance of fire escape planning and practice, as well as the power of prevention.