2017-10-12 / Features

When the smoke alarm sounds, ‘Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out’

Fire Prevention Week Oct. 8-14

Gov. Rick Snyder proclaimed Oct. 8-14 as Fire Prevention Week to empha­size this year’s theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out.”

Michiganders are urged to develop and practice a home escape plan and know what to do when awakened to the sound of a smoke alarm and the smell of smoke.

“Having a home fire escape plan provides the skill set and know-how to quickly and safely escape a home fire situation and can literally make the difference between life and death in so many instances,” State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer said. “I urge every family to develop and practice two ways out of the house so every member of the family knows what to do in case of a fire.”

Sehlmeyer said that many families today have a much smaller window of time to escape a home fire safely – as little as one or two minutes to escape from the time the smoke alarm sounds due to newer homes burning faster and toxic gases and smoke being produced by today’s building materials.

That is why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.

“Pre-planning is critical and it’s what everyone will draw upon to jump into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire,” Sehlmeyer said.

A home escape plan also includes having working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas.

When developing a home fire escape plan:

• Draw a map of the house with all members of the household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.

• Practice a home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one dur­ing the day with everyone in the home and practice using different ways out.

• Parents can teach children how to escape on their own in case they cannot help them.

• Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily and that every family member understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked windows and doors to escape.

• For family members with access or functional needs such as infants, older adults or people with a mobility disability, make sure that someone is as­signed to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a back-up in case that person is absent from the home.

• Practice checking the doors for smoke. If smoke can be seen, do not open the door. If a door is hot to the touch, do not open it.

• If the door is cool enough to open, open it slowly. Family members are to put their heads down and tilt their faces away from the opening, closing doors behind them as they leave to slow the flow of oxygen to the fire and give them time to escape.

• Practice crawling low. In a fire, smoke and poisonous air hurt more people than the actual flames. Staying low means a person can crawl below the smoke.

• Designate a clear meeting place outside of the home, stay outside and stay together to best help first respond­ers.

• Make sure everyone in the home knows how to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

The Michigan Bureau of Fire Ser­vices joins the National Fire Protection Association and other state and national organizations in recognizing Fire Pre­vention Week. The NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, making it the longest-running public health and safety observance on record.

For information about preventing fires and staying safe, visit the NFPA official Fire Prevention Week website at www.firepreventionweek.org.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2017-10-12 digital edition

Poll

What was Tuesday’s power outage like for you?