By Heather Chadwick, Snohomish County Fire District 7 Public Information and Education Officer.
Today’s home fires burn faster than ever. 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. Knowing how to use that time wisely takes planning and practice.
Snohomish County Fire District 7 is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to promote the 2018 Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere™,” which works to educate the public about basic but essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire.
NFPA statistics show that the number of U.S. home fires has been steadily declining over the past few decades. However, the death rate per 1000 home fires that are reported to fire departments was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980.
“These numbers show that while we’ve made significant progress in teaching people how to prevent fires from happening, there’s still much more work to do in terms of educating the public about how to protect themselves in the event of one,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “This is particularly critical given the increased speed at which today’s home fires grow and spread.”
Carli also noted that although people feel safest in their home, it is also the place people are at greatest risk to fire, with four out of five U.S. fire deaths occurring at home. That over-confidence contributes to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice.
“In the fire service we know that people often make choices in fire situations that jeopardize their safety or even cost them their lives,” said Fire Marshal Michael Fitzgerald.
He went on to say, “We continue to teach people about the potentially life-saving difference escape planning and practice can make and help motivate them to action.”
This year’s “Look. Listen. Learn.” campaign highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire:
- Look for places fire could start.
- Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.
- Learn 2 ways out of every room.
During the 2018 Fire Prevention Week (October 7th to 13th) Fire District 7 is hosting two annual open houses in support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign:
- Sunday, October 7th, from 12:00 – 4:00 pm, located at Station 71 (8010 180th St SE, Snohomish).
- Saturday, October 13th, from 12:00 – 4:00 pm, located at Station 31 (163 Village Court, Monroe).
The open houses will have activities for the kids, home fire preparedness information, car extrication demonstrations, live fire extinguisher training and more!
For more information about Fire Prevention Week and home escape planning, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.