This article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119.
In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.
That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week (October 8 – 14) theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan.
Here are this year’s key campaign messages.
- 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 drill 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.
Fire Prevention Week was established to observe the “Great Chicago Fire,” of 1871, which killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned in excess of 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.
For more information about National Fire Prevention Week, including access to great resources for kids, families, and teachers, visit the National Fire Protection Association Web site.
Webmaster’s Note: As a “retired” volunteer firefighter, I can attest to the importance of this! October is also a good month to change smoke detector batteries and check any fire extinguishers you have in your home! If you have an older, powder-based extinguisher, remove it from the holder, turn it upside down and “bang” on the side a few times with your hand to make sure the powder remains viable and does not clump. Why not make fire prevention a lecturer’s program or an FHH report?! By the way… this is also a good time to remind everyone to make sure the number of your Grange Hall (and 911 address) is clearly marked and all members know it. It will be important information to provide the dispatcher if you ever require emergency assistance!