October 7-13 is "Fire Prevention Week" and the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services is urging residents to designate "Two Ways Out" of their home in the event of a house fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one-third of Americans believe they have a minimum of six minutes before a fire in their home becomes life threatening however frequently there is much less time. A press release from Gwinnett County reports that U.S fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires in 2010 and in 2011 and the Gwinnett County Fire Department responded to almost 1,700 structure fires, where of the 203 working incidents there were seven civilian deaths.
“One home structure fire was reported in the United States every 85 seconds in 2010,” stated Lieutenant Colin Rhoden of Gwinnett County Fire Department in the release. “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 GCFES gives the following tips to homeowners regarding family escape plans:
- Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.
- 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.
- Have a grown-up sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in your home.
- Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and remind grown-ups to have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.
More information about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities in Gwinnett County is available by calling 678-518-4850 or by email. Learn more about “Have Two Ways Out!” by visiting NFPA’s website.