Harrisburg, PA – The second week of October is Fire Prevention Week and State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay is encouraging everyone to take time this week to plan two ways out of their home in the event of a fire.
Fire Prevention Week was implemented by President Woodrow Wilson in 1920 in remembrance of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which killed 250 people and destroyed more than 2,000 acres of property.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out,” works to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it.
“In a house fire, you may only have a few minutes to escape from the time an alarm sounds,” State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay said. “Having two ways out is so important and can mean the difference between life and death.”
The Office of the State Fire Commissioner encourages household members 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 an outside meeting place that’s a safe distance from the home.
Some additional tips 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.
• Never go back inside a burning building. Once you are outside, stay outside.