If you woke up to a fire in your home, how much time do you think you would have to get to safety? According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one-third of Americans households who made an estimate they thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. Unfortunately, the time available is often less.
That’s why the Bismarck Fire Department is teaming up with NFPA during Fire Prevention Month to urge residents to “Have Two Ways Out!” This year’s theme focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.
In the U.S, fire departments respond to a fire every 23 seconds according to NFPA. One home structure fire was reported every 65 seconds in 2011 according to NFPA. In 2011, the Bismarck Fire Department responded to 96 fires with almost half being a structure fire.
Fire is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize. Having a tried and true escape plan with two ways out is essential to ensuring your family’s safety should fire break out in your home.
The Bismarck Fire Department recommends the following tips for planning your family’s escape:
• Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room. Make sure the window can be opened. If it is located on an upper floor, have an escape ladder and know how to use it.
• Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they’ve escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.
• Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan. Make sure that everyone, including children, know their address
• Sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in your home. Practice at different times of the day or night and practice often so everyone is familiar with how to get out of every room.
• Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.
To learn more about “Have Two Ways Out!” and other fire safety information visit the Bismarck Fire Department website at www.bismarck.org/fire.