Imagine this…It’s 2:00 am. You and your family are fast asleep when you are abruptly awakened by the sound of smoke alarms. Do you know what to do? Do you know what other members of your household would do? If you don’t have a home fire escape plan, you and your family are at higher risk for serious injury or even death in the event of a fire.
In a typical home fire, you may have as little as two minutes to escape safely from the moment the smoke alarms sounds. In a home fire, time is your biggest enemy, as hot, toxic smoke fills your home and threatens to knock you unconscious. That’s why home escape planning is such a crucial part of home fire safety; it ensures that everyone in the household knows how to react, respond, and quickly escape.
This year, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” was the official safety message of National Fire Prevention Week, to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan, and practicing that plan. Fire Prevention Week was October 8-14, 2017 and is sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
In support of Fire Prevention Week, Spokane Valley Fire Department encourages everyone in our community to develop a home fire escape plan together and practice it. Practicing your plan creates muscle-memory, and allows you to respond appropriately during the stress and chaos of a real home fire event. While creating your home fire escape plan, take time to make sure that you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. The plan should identify 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.
NFPA and the Spokane Valley Fire Department offer these additional tips and recommendations for developing and practicing a home escape plan:
- Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Practice your home fire drill at least twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the street address of your home is clearly marked and easy for firefighters to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave; this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
To learn more about this year’s National Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out” and home escape planning.