Fire safety: have two ways out

Every October, the National Fire Protection Association observes Fire Prevention Week. Throughout the month, firefighters from local departments will visit grade schools and other places in the community teaching fire safety and prevention. This Year’s theme is, “Have 2 Ways Out.”

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls.

The Sycamore Fire Department encourages all members of the community to observe fire prevention week and make fire escape planning and practice a priority. Every household should have a home fire escape plan that prepares families to think fast and get out quickly when the smoke alarm sounds. If one exit is blocked by smoke, it’s imperative to plan for another escape outlet. Always plan for two ways out of your home because you never know from which direction a fire will come, and being prepared can save lives.

Fire Fast Facts

• Fifty-five percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings occur in bedrooms, more than any other room.
• Half of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings occur between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. This period also accounts for 47 percent of all fatal fires.
• Thirty-six percent of fire victims in residential buildings were trying to escape at the time of their deaths; 35 percent were sleeping.
• Approximately 44 percent of civilians who die in residential building fires are between the ages of 40 and 69. Thirteen percent of the fire fatalities in residential buildings are younger than 10.

Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Fire Safety Tips

• Make a map of your home. Mark a door and window that can be used to get out of every room.
• Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home.
• Make sure everyone in your home knows how to respond if the smoke alarm sounds.
• Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible ways out.  
• Have a grown-up sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan twice a year.
• Test smoke alarms at least monthly. Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond when tested.
• Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.

Source: Sycamore Fire Department

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