Fire Safety Week: Consider this scenario

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

It’s 2 a.m., you and your family are fast asleep when you wake to the smell of smoke and sounding alarm. What do you do?

If you or your family don’t have a plan in place, it could jeopardize everyone's safety and prove deadly.

In a typical home fire, one may have as little as one, to two, minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. That’s why home escape planning is critical in a fire situation. It ensures everyone in the household knows how to use a small window of time wisely.

“Developing and practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory,” said Brad Truver, Schriever Air Force Base Fire Department assistant chief. “Pre-planning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.”

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 8-14. This year's theme is “Every second counts: Plan 2 ways out.” It works to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it. Schriever FD is working in coordination with the National Fire Protection Association, the official sponsor of the Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, to reinforce those potentially life-saving messages. 

“Home 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,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA Outreach and Advocacy vice president.

In support of Fire Prevention Week, Truver encourages all Schriever members and surrounding-area households to develop a plan together and put it into practice. 

A home escape plan includes preparing working smoke alarms for every level of the home, in every bedroom and near all sleeping areas. It goes on to include two ways out of every room, usually a door or window, with a clear path to a safe-distance meeting place, like a tree, light pole or mailbox, outside of the home.

NFPA and the Schriever FD offer these additional tips and recommendations for developing and practicing a home escape plan:

  • Draw 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.
  • Practice 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.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave to slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

The Schriever FD will be putting on events to promote Fire Prevention Week efforts with an auto extraction demonstration Oct. 11, beginning 11:30 a.m., and an open house at the Tierra Vista Community Center Oct. 13 from 4 – 6 p.m. For more information, call the Schriever FD at 567-3370.  

To evaluate your home's safety, fill out this form and prepare for the chance of an incident. 

To learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every second counts: Plan 2 ways out” and home escape planning, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.