Weekly Feature

2017-10-12 / Editorial

Planning saves lives during Fire Prevention Week

Imagine this terrifying scenario: You and your family are fast asleep when you’re awoken by the sound of a smoke alarm and the acrid smell of smoke. The room is hazy and the air is thick. What is your first move?

According to the American Red Cross, if a fire starts in your home, you may have as little as two minutes to escape. Without a solid fire escape plan, you are putting your life and your family’s lives in danger. A plan, practiced regularly, ensures that everyone in the home knows how to use those precious few minutes wisely.

This week is National Fire Prevention Week, a chance for people across the country to take a look at how prepared they are for the unimaginable. It’s a common misconception that fires are something that happens to other people. Sadly, this outlook puts millions of Americans at risk, as they fail to check their smoke alarms or develop an escape plan. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a home structure fire was reported every 86 seconds in 2015, with about 80 percent of all U.S. fire deaths annually occurring at home.

In support of Fire Prevention Week, families are encouraged to sit down and develop a home escape plan, which 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.

The NFPA encourages people to keep the following tips in mind when creating 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 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 number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.

Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

During open houses at fire departments in Orchard Park, community members get a chance to learn more about fire safety and prevention, and meet the people who work to keep everyone in the town and village safe.

Return to top