Fall is approaching, children have returned to school, sports programs are in full swing, and now, our Super Bowl of fire safety, Fire Prevention Week, is about to begin. Many have heard of the myths of how Fire Prevention Week was started to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire and Mrs. O’Leary’s cow in 1871.
But as with all things, Fire Prevention Week has matured and become a serious effort by fire departments and life safety professionals nationwide to provide a concentrated and clear message that people can remember and practice year-round.
Imagine it’s 3 a.m. You and your family are sound asleep and awaken to the beeping smoke alarm. You are tired and confused from the effects of the smoke. You know you need to get to safety, but when you head for the front door, you find that escape route in blocked by fire that is spreading by the second. What do you do?
While this scenario is one we hope you never have to encounter, the statistics tell us that many people do every day. According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds in 2010. That adds up to 369,500 home fires, which caused 13,650 injuries and 2,640 deaths. We also know that most fatal fires kill one or two people. However, in 2010, 19 home fires killed five or more people, resulting in 101 deaths.
The numbers are scary, but there is something you can do to help ensure your family’s safety should a fire break out in your home: Have Two Ways Out!
Maitland Fire Rescue is teaming up with NFPA during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13, to urge residents to “Have Two Ways Out!” This year’s theme focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.
In addition, we have teamed up with the National Fire Safety Council, preschools and elementary schools throughout Maitland to provide educational programs and materials to assist the children and their families learn how to escape from an emergency.
Only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Less than half actually practiced it. Seconds and minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
We want to ensure that Maitland residents know what to do if a fire breaks out in their home. Preparation is an important part of being able to deal with an emergency and it is crucial you take steps to prepare your family for the potential of a home fire by having an escape plan and practicing it.
Although preparing for the unexpected is difficult, reviewing the information below and taking action based on it to plan for a fire could save lives. Maitland Fire Recue Department recommends the following tips for planning your family’s escape:
If you have children and want to make this a family activity:
• Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.
• Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they’ve escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.
• Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan.
• Sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape drill with everyone living in your home.
• Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and practice the drill twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.
If your family is all adults:
• Walk through you home and identify two ways out of each room.
• Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they’ve escaped.
• Make sure everyone knows the emergency number for your local fire department.
• Practice your escape drill twice a year.
Maitland Fire Rescue will be providing educational programs at our new Fire Station 45, public and private elementary schools; Dommerich, Hebrew Day, Hungerford, King of Kings, Lake Sybelia, Montessori, Park Maitland, and preschools; Asbury United Methodist, Center For Early Childhood Education at First Presbyterian Church, Jewish Community Center, King of Kings, Montessori, Orangewood and RDV Sportsplex, during Fire Prevention Week and throughout the month of October to promote “Have Two Ways Out!”
Through these educational, family-oriented activities, our residents and children can learn more about the importance of fire escape planning and practice, as well as the power of prevention.
To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities in Maitland, please contact the Maitland Fire Marshal, Dennis Marshall, at 407-539-6228 or email@example.com To learn more about “Have Two Ways Out!” visit www.firepreventionweek.org
— Dennis Marshall, Fire Marshal
City of Maitland Fire Rescue Department
Please visit itsmymaitland.com to listen to the recording of the Sept. 24 City Council meeting.