Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated the week of October 8th as Fire Prevention Week. This date was chosen as the Great Chicago fire started on October 8, 1871. Each year a theme for the week is chosen in an effort to keep fire safety present in people’s minds. This year’s theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” An explanation of the theme is best explained by a video from Sparky, The Fire Dog.
Here are some statistics from a recent survey conducted by the NFPA. About one in every 338 homes had a fire each year from 2010 to 2014. For most of those years the second leading cause of fires in homes and fire deaths/injuries is heating equipment. In terms of escape planning, only about a third of the US has developed and practiced a home escape plan. Also, many people believe they would have 6 minutes before a home fire could become life threatening when in reality the time is much shorter. The most shocking statistic of all was that only 8% of those surveyed indicated that when hearing a fire alarm their first thought was to leave the home or building. These are numbers we cannot deny and should all consider.
So, what can you do? Here are some ideas from NFPA to use during Fire Prevention Week to reinforce this year’s theme.
Fire Escape Planning Ideas
- 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. The grid can be downloaded in English here.
- 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.
- 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.
If you think you and your home are prepared, test your knowledge by taking NFPA’s quiz here. I did an am ashamed to admit my score was a bit low at 64%. It just proves the point. As a safety person I thought I was knowledgeable and prepared. Needless to say, I’ll be spending time on the website (http://www.firepreventionweek.org) educating myself. You should too. Take a look at the activities, products, lessons, infographics and more to make this year’s week a success. Most of them are free and downloadable. Check it out.
Much of this information was reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website. © 2017 NFPA.