October is right around the corner, and with it comes the start of Fire Safety Month, which includes National Fire Prevention Week, October 9th through 15th. This year is the 100th anniversary of recognizing Fire Prevention Week! The 2022 theme is Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape™, and you can help keep you and your family safe by doing just that using the information, tools, tips, and plans found on NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website.
The campaign works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe from home fires. The campaign highlights the importance of making a fire escape plan for your home.
EHS professionals and others with workplace safety responsibilities spend a good deal of time focusing on emergency evacuation plans for the workplace. However, the importance of evacuation or escape planning in the event of a home fire is often overlooked.
According to an NFPA survey, only one out of every three households has developed and practiced a home escape plan. Did you know that 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?
Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out. If you don’t have a plan for your home, Fire Prevention Week is a great time to create one! Steps in creating an escape plan include:
- Draw a floor plan or map of your home showing all doors and windows.
- Visit each room in your house and find two ways out (usually a door and a window) and a path from each exit route to the outside; mark them on the floor plan.
- Make sure that all escape routes are clear and that doors and windows can open easily so you can use them to get outside.
- Make sure your home has working smoke alarms; test them to see if they work and mark them on the floor plan. Smoke alarms should be in each bedroom or sleeping area, outside each sleeping area (e.g., hallways), and on every level of the home.
- Pick a meeting place outside in front of your home that is at a safe distance; make sure your home/building number can be seen from the street.
- Talk about your escape plan with everyone in your home.
- Make sure everyone knows how to call 911 or other emergency phone number for your fire department.
It’s important to make sure that your fire escape plan includes everyone who may be in your home including children, older adults, and people with disabilities. It’s also important to share your plan with overnight guests. NFPA recommends practicing the plan at least twice a year.