Fire Prevention Week: Being prepared when the smoke alarm sounds

MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio – 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. 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. Being prepared is the key in time of emergency. It can also be worth consulting with a fire safety professional, both in the home setting and if you’re running a business. This way a proper plan can be constructed in case of fire and hazards that may not have been thought of can be brought to mind. But what about in the educational space?

The Racine Fire Department helps to educate students about fire safety during Fire Prevention Week 2016. Photo by Carrie Gloeckner.

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. Fire departments across Meigs County are 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. Locally, firefighters will be visiting schools in the county to spread the word about fire safety, prevention and preparation. If you were someone that wasn’t able to attend this event, don’t feel like you have missed your chance to find out about how to prevent situations like a fire. Thanks to the internet, even if you do a quick search into something as simple as Jim’s Fire Safety Services, you’ll be able to speak to professionals, who can give you the advice you need to stay safe wherever you are. Your safety should be a priority.

Southern Elementary students will once again hear about fire safety during Fire Safety Week as will students across the county as various fire departments visit area schools. Photo by Carrie Gloeckner.

“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.

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. Some people also chose to install lights that will come on if the fire causes the power to go out so that they can safely find their exits. These should be maintained and undergo inspections, like the Emergency Light Testing London has to offer, to ensure they will work in an emergency.

NFPA and area fire departments 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.
  • If you’re a business looking for some fire safety tips, you can also follow the above points. Another safety measure to be aware of is the fire exit door, you must ensure this can be opened properly and is operating at all times, if you know your fire exit door isn’t operating properly you can look into a Commercial door repair sacramento business, or a more local service depending on the area you live in. This is just one of the many precautions to take in the case of a 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.

Learning about fire safety, Southern Elementary students listen to members of the Racine Fire Department. Photo by Carrie Gloeckner.