Make a plan and know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 13:15

Does your family have a plan and know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds?

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. Do you and your family know what do you do? Not having a plan in place could jeopardize your safety, or even be deadly. That’s 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.

National Fire Prevention Week is October 8-14, 2017. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”, aims to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it.   

“Developing and practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory,” said Jeremy Luttrell, Fire Marshal for Winchester Fire and Rescue. “That pre-planning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.”

In support of Fire Prevention Week, the Fire Marshal encourages all households to develop a plan together and practice it. A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to a safe outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole, or mailbox).

These are some 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. Visit for a checklist and worksheet to help create a home fire escape plan.
  • 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 — this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

Fire Prevention Week Open House

In addition, the Winchester Fire and Rescue Department will hold a Fire Prevention Week Open House on October 14 from 10:00-2:00 pm at the Shawnee Volunteer Fire Station, 2210 Valor Drive. Enjoy station tours, fire truck rides, meet firefighters, trying on gear, games, food, and more.