Nearly half of all Americans have not developed a home fire escape plan. Of those that have, 25% have never practiced it. These and other findings from a recent survey conducted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) prompted the official theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, October 8-14, 2017: “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out”
“The results from our most recent survey show we still have a lot of work to do in educating the public about home fires, escape planning and practice. Among the findings, people tend to think they have more time to escape a home fire than they actually do,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president for Outreach and Advocacy. “That overconfidence may play a role in why some people don’t develop a home escape plan or practice it regularly.”
Home escape planning and practice can make a life-saving difference in a home fire. “In a fire situation, a regularly practiced home escape plan ensures that everyone in the home knows what to do if the smoke alarm sounds and can escape quickly and safely,” said Carli.
“Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out” works to teach the public what a home escape plan entails, and the value of practicing it with all members of the household. This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign also works to better educate the public about just how quickly home fires can spread, and how little time they may have to escape safely.
“Today’s home fires spread more rapidly than they used to,” Carli said. “The synthetic fibers used in modern home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight construction, all contribute to an increased rate at which fire burns. These factors make home escape planning and practice all the more critical.” Experts say you could have less than two minutes to escape a home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds.
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 (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home. Home escape plans should be practiced twice a year by all members of the household.
For more information about Fire Prevention Week and this year’s campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out,” visit firepreventionweek.org.