As risk of fire increases this time of year, National Fire Prevention Week takes center stage. Click to hear KMZU’s Bob Allen talk with Missouri State Fire Marshal Randy Cole:
Press Release from the Missouri Department of Public Safety
JEFFERSON CITY – With Fire Prevention Week 2011 and the home heating season approaching, State Fire Marshal Randy Cole urges Missourians to remember the importance of preventing fires in the home and practicing a fire escape plan with their families.
“Taking proactive steps to prevent a fire in advance and developing and practicing a fire escape plan are two critical steps that you can take to protect your family,” said State Fire Marshal Cole. “Smoke and fires can spread very quickly. Practicing an evacuation plan with your family can save critical seconds and could save your loved ones from injury or death.”
Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15, 2011, is recognized annually by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and fire departments and safety agencies across the country. This year’s campaign, “Protect Your Family from Fire,” encourages everyone to not only plan an effective fire escape route for their families, but also to practice these routes at least twice a year.
According to the NFPA, in 2009, across the U.S., one home structure fire was reported every 87 seconds and on average seven people died in home fires every day. An NFPA survey also revealed that only one in three American households have developed and practiced a fire evacuation plan.
Cole offered these fire prevention tips:
- Never leave the kitchen while cooking. Turn off the stove if you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters.
- Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
- If you smoke, smoke outside.
- Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
The following tips will help keep your family safe if there is a fire in your home:
- Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home (including the basement).
- Interconnect all smoke alarms in the home so when one sounds, they all sound.
- Test smoke alarms at least monthly and replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond when tested.
- Make sure everyone in your home knows how to respond if the smoke alarm sounds.
- Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible ways out. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.
Cole suggests developing a home escape plan as soon as a family moves into a new residence; regularly practicing the plan and explaining it to children; and revising the plan as the children grow up.
For more than 85 years, fire departments have observed Fire Prevention Week, making it the longest running public health and safety observance on record. For more information about protecting your family from fire, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.