Today’s home fires burn faster than ever. 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. Knowing how to use that time wisely takes planning and practice.
The Lee’s Summit Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) ‑‑ the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week™ for more than 90 years ‑‑ to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere™,” which works to educate the public about basic but essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire.
NFPA statistics show that the number of U.S. home fires has been steadily declining over the past few decades. However, the death rate per 1000 home fires that are reported to fire departments was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980.
While we’ve made significant progress in teaching people how to prevent fires from happening, there’s still much more work to do in terms of educating the public about how to protect themselves in the event of one. “It is so important to be aware of the hazards in your home, have working smoke alarms, and a plan of how to get out in case of a fire”, said Fire Chief Rick Poeschl. “This is particularly critical given the increased speed at which today’s home fires grow and spread.”
Although people feel safest in their home, it is also the place people are at greatest risk to fire, with four out of five U.S. fire deaths occurring at home. That over-confidence contributes to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice.
Assistant Chief Jim Eden says this year’s “Look. Listen. Learn.” campaign highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire:
Look for places fire could start.
Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.
Learn 2 ways out of every room.
Situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go. No matter where you are, look for available exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately.
In support of Fire Prevention Week, the Lee’s Summit Fire Department encourages everyone to look around your home for any possible hazards and correct them immediately. Replace smoke alarm batteries and replace smoke alarms more than 10 years old, and have a home escape plan. 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.
To learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn” and home escape planning, visit www.firepreventionweek.org. or visit the Lee’s Summit Fire Department at lsfire.net, or on Facebook.