Each year National Fire Prevention Week is observed around the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and left Chicago in ruins.
Though there have been many changes in building practices and city planning since the Great Chicago Fire to prevent that kind of widespread devastation from happening again, individual homes and structures are still routinely destroyed by fires that all too often could have been prevented. And though these fires don’t cause widespread misery, losing a home to fire can be devastating to an individual family.
To help prevent needless tragedies, the Melbourne Fire Department is joining with the National Fire Prevention Association and communities all across the country to educate residents about things that they can do to prevent fires in their homes — and how to safely escape a fire should one happen.
This year's Fire Prevention Week campaign is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere,” which aims to inform people about three basic but essential steps to take to reduce the likelihood of having a fire––and how to escape safely in the event of one:
- Look for places where fire could start. Take a good look around your home. Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them.
- Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm. You could have only minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the home and where everyone should know to meet.
- Learn two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
- Check this page each day during Fire Prevention Week for a new fire safety tip. Or you can follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
- Get more information about the annual campaign on the National Fire Prevention Association’s Fire Prevention Week website.
- For fire prevention and safety tips, see the Prepare, Prevent & Practice page on the City of Melbourne website.
Fire Prevention Week: Learn 2 Ways Out of Every Room
In a fire, you may have only minutes to escape. Learn two ways out of every room. Make a plan and practice it!
“Developing and practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory,” said Chuck Bogle, Fire Chief of the Melbourne Fire Department. “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.”
A home escape plan includes:
- Working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas; and
- Two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole, or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home.
NFPA and the Melbourne Fire Department 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 your house number 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.
For more information:
For more information, including a tool to help you develop a home escape plan, please visit the National Fire Prevention Week website.
Reproduced from NFPA’s website, www.nfpa.org/publiceducation. © NFPA