Be Smart AND Safe: Oct. 8-14 is National Fire Prevention Week
FPW2017: “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out”
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.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 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. 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.
That’s why the theme for Fire Prevention Week (FPW) 2017 is: “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out.” The goal of this year’s campaign is to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it.
“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, we’re encouraging every household 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. 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.
- 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.
Be Safe and Smart: Additional Tips
In the U.S., on average, seven people die every day from house fires. In 2015 alone, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 365,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,560 deaths, 11,075 civilian injuries, and $7 billion in direct damage.
In many cases, this damage could have been mitigated—or prevented all together. A fire at home can start for many reasons—candles, cooking, electrical issues, heating, and smoking materials—to name a few. Because the causes are myriad, practicing fire prevention can keep you and your family safe. October 8-14, Fire Prevention Week 2017 (FPW 2017), is the perfect time to brush up on prevention tactics and prepare your family in case disaster strikes.
Here are a few additional tips to consider during this very important home safety week—and all year long.
Fire Safety and Prevention Tips:
1. First and foremost, install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home – including the basement. Three out of five home fire fatalities happen in homes with no or non-working smoke alarms.
2. Next, identify potential fire hazards. Do you have frayed or exposed electrical wires? Are space heaters located near curtains or other flammable materials? Fix what you can and know where other potential dangers lie.
3. Install fire safety windows and doors. If that is not an option, use fire retardant products to fire proof windows and doors. This slows down the fire and helps prevent it from spreading.
4. Plan and practice an escape route. Determine at least two ways to escape from your home and select a location outside for everyone to meet. Also, plan what to do with family pets and know who to call for emergency assistance.
5. Many children are not aware of potential fire hazards. Check out these fire prevention tips for kids to ensure proper fire safety and prevention is practiced by the entire family.
The National Fire Protection Association is the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week, which is held every year the week of October 9 (the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire). 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.
Downloads courtesy of and press release content reproduced from NFPA’s website, www.nfpa.org/publiceducation. © NFPA.