PLYMOUTH - Itâs 2 oâclock in the morning. 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 and your family donât have a plan in place, it could jeopardize your safety or even prove deadly, according to Captain Tony Orsini, health and safety officer of the Terryville Fire Department.
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. Thatâs 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, he said.
âDeveloping and practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory,â said Orsini. âThat pre-planning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.â
National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 8-14. This yearâs theme âEvery Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!â focuses on the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it. The fire department is working in coordination with the National Fire Protection Association to reinforce the potentially life-saving message.
âHome 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,â said Lorraine Carli, NFPAâs vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.
In support of Fire Prevention Week, Orsini encourages all local 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 - like a tree, light pole, or mailbox - thatâs a safe distance from the home.
NFPA and the fire department offer these additional tips and recommendations for developing and practicing a home escape plan:
ïźâDraw 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.
ïźâPractice 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.
ïźâTeach children how to escape on their own in case you canât help them.
ïźâMake sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
ïźâClose doors behind you as you leave - this may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
ïźâOnce you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
For more information, visit firepreventionweek.org.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.