If you and your family are fast asleep when the smoke alarm Sounds: Do you know what to do?
October 8-14, has been officially proclaimed as Fire Prevention Week in Kansas. The Kansas Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) will use this year’s theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out,” to educate the public about the vital importance of developing a home fire escape plan with all members of the household and practising it twice a year.
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.
“Developing and practising a home escape plan extremely important when it comes to keeping your family safe,” Doug Jorgensen, Kansas State Fire Marshal said. “That planning could potentially be the difference between life and death in the event of a fire.”
In 2016, there were 2,106 residential fires, resulting in 25 deaths and 72 injuries in Kansas.
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 practising it. The OSFM 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.
“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, the OSFM encourages all Kansas 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. 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.
NFPA and the OSFM offer these additional tips and recommendations for developing and practising 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 Kansas, visit firemarshal.ks.gov. 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.