While most Americans feel safest at home, research shows that three-quarters of fire deaths and injuries occur in our homes and that people are now more likely to die in a residential fire than they were in 1980. That’s why the National Fire Prevention Week, Oct, 9-15, theme is “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.”
“Research has shown that modern-built homes can burn up to two or three times faster than older homes, which means you may have under two minutes to get out once the smoke alarm sounds,” State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said. “Whether you and your family develop a home escape plan and practice it regularly can mean the difference between life and death. Everyone should know two ways out of every room in the home.”
Bean said modern homes burn faster and hotter than older homes because new, lighter weight building materials are often much more flammable.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends families follow these steps to be prepared in case of a fire:
* Make sure your home escape plan meets the needs of all your family members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities.
* Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound.
* Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows open easily.
* Have an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home where everyone should meet.
* Practice your home fire drill at least twice a year with everyone in the household, including guests. Practice at least once during the day and at night.
Fire Marshal Bean also pointed out the importance of closing doors to slow the spread of a fire. Closing doors cuts off the oxygen that fuels a fire and reduces the amount of smoke that spreads to other rooms. That’s why it’s recommended that people sleep with bedroom doors closed, close interior doors each time they leave the home, and close doors behind them when they escape a burning home.