National Fire Prevention Week is a good time for families to sit down and plan at least two ways to safely escape a burning structure, State Fire Marshal Paul Merriman says.
National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 7-13, 2012. This year’s theme is “Have 2 Ways Out.’’ Merriman says the theme is a reminder that a good fire safety plan includes more than one exit strategy from a burning home.
“Fire can be unpredictable, and it moves more quickly than most people realize,’’ Merriman said. “Having an escape plan with at least two ways out is essential to protect your family in the event of a fire in your home. And the escape plan should be reviewed from time to time. Fire Prevention Week is a good time to do that.’’
Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association say that in 2010, firefighters in the United States responded to nearly 370,000 home structure fires. Those fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries and 2,640 civilian deaths, as well as $6.9 billion in direct damage.
Merriman recommends that families:
• Make a map of their home, marking each door or window that could be used as an exit from each room.
• Agree on a meeting place outside the home where family members can make contact after escaping from the house.
• Practice the plan at least twice a year, with everyone in the home involved in the practice.
• Make sure to have smoke alarms in the home and make sure the batteries are fresh.
“Firefighters in South Dakota do a great job. Fire Prevention Week is a time to recognize that,’’ Merriman said. “It’s also a good time to remember that each of us is responsible for our own safety and the safety of our loved ones in the event of a fire.’’