Be a Hero: Plan & Practice Your Home Fire Escape Plan
By Jim Kreher, BCFPD Fire Chief
The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District is proud to once again partner with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to commemorate National Fire Prevention Week, which takes place Sunday, October 6th through Saturday, October 12th.
The theme of this year’s observance, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape,” is designed to highlight the value of having a home fire escape plan…and then making sure everyone in your family practices it twice per year.
It’s also an opportunity to support the unsung heroes living in our communities:
- Residents all ages who already understand the importance of home fire safety and spur their family members to action.
- Those who take the time to learn more about home fire escape planning and, in doing so, make their households safer.
Just Minutes to Evacuate Safely
We all feel safer in our homes, but escape planning is more important than ever. Multiple factors contribute to a fire’s ability to spread more rapidly than in previous eras: (1) Lighter materials utilized in home construction, (2) Synthetic fibers used in modern home furnishings, and, (3) a trend toward open floor plans.
In fact, you may have less than two minutes to escape a home fire once the smoke alarm sounds. It’s important to have a plan. Unfortunately, only about 30% of households across the country have developed and practiced one.
Haven’t developed a home fire escape plan before? Here are some tips to guide you:
- Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows.
- Identify at least two ways out of every room in the house. Discuss this with all members of your family.
- Determine a location outside the house – a safe distance away – where everyone can meet.
- Practice home fire drills at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice per year. Make sure you practice using different ways out.
- Teach your children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
Here’s to our community heroes! Learn more about home fire escape planning and National Fire Prevention Week at www.fpw.org.
Make Sure Smoke Alarms are Working
An effective home fire escape plan is not complete without working smoke alarms on every level of your home. According to NFPA data, nearly 70% of home fire deaths occur in residences without working smoke alarms.
For maximum effectiveness, devices should be installed in every bedroom of the house and outside sleeping areas on each level of your home (including basements). Units should be placed on ceilings or high on walls. Use interconnected smoke alarms, if available: when one sounds, they will all sound.
BCFPD Offers Free Smoke Alarms
Through the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance’s “Be Alarmed” program, the BCFPD provides 10-year concealed battery smoke alarms and other fire safety education materials to residents at no charge. We’ll even come out to your home and install them. Contact Captain Angela Grandgeorge at 224-848-4875 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.