Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Have a plan when that smoke alarm sounds

Consider this scenario:
It’s 2 a.m. 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 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 practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory,” said Columbus Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Travis Hansen. “That pre-planning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.”
“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, the National Fire Protection Association vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.
In observation of Fire Prevention Week, Chief Hansen encourages all Columbus households to develop a plan 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 (such as a tree, light pole, or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home.
NFPA and the Columbus Fire Department 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 drills 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.

National Fire Prevention Week kicks off Sunday, Oct. 8. This year’s theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”
The focus is public education about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it. As it does annually, Columbus Fire Rescue will be working throughout the week to spread that message by working in coordination with the National Fire Protection Association (NFRP).
Columbus Elementary School students will tour the Columbus Fire Station on Tuesday, Oct. 10, and the public is invited to an open house on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Learning activities, snacks and door prizes will be offered at the open house. 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.
For more information about Fire Prevention Week activities in Columbus, visit www.columbusfirerescue.com or www.facebook.com/columbusfirerescue.