Consider this scenario: It’s 2 o’clock in the morning. You and your family are fast asleep when you awaken to the smoke alarm sounding and the smell of smoke. What do you do? If you and your family don’t have a plan in place, it could jeopardize your safety, or even prove deadly.
“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,” said TFR Fire Marshal Tim Connell. “That’s why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.”
According to Connell, developing and practicing a home escape plan is important. “It’s like building muscle memory,” said Connell. “That pre-planning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.”
This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” works to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it. Thomasville Fire Rescue is working in coordination with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the official sponsor of the Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, to reinforce those potentially life-saving messages. Fire Prevention Week is October 8-14, 2017.
“Home escape planning is one of the most basic but fundamental elements of home fire safety, and can truly make the difference between life and death in a fire situation,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.
In support of Fire Prevention Week, TFR encourages all Thomasville households to develop a plan together and practice it. “A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas,” said Connell. “If a home needs smoke alarms, TFR can help provide those for you. We want our community to be prepared and that includes making sure you have two ways out of every room with a clear path to an outside meeting. That’s usually some place like a tree, light pole, or mailbox that’s a safe distance from the home.”
NFPA and TFR 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 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.
For more information about Fire Prevention Week activities in Thomasville, contact TFR at 227-4099. To learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out” and home escape planning, visit firepreventionweek.org.