Practice fire escape plan this week

Published 11:13 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Please join Chief Paul Johnson and the Natchez Fire Department for National Fire Prevention Week on Oct. 7-13. The National Fire Protection Association theme for this year is “Practice Your Escape Plan.”

According to the latest NFPA research, 3,030 people died in 2005 in home fires — that’s roughly eight people every day. Being alerted to a fire and knowing what to do to escape from one are extremely important, yet only 23 percent of households have planned and practiced a home fire escape plan.

Firefighters know first-hand that when it comes to home fires, seconds and minutes can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. As firefighters, we spend time planning and training to battle fires in our community and preparing ahead of time enables us to act quickly when faced with an emergency situation. Preparation is an important part of being able to deal with an emergency and it is crucial that residents take steps to prepare themselves for home fires by having an escape plan and practicing it.

Email newsletter signup

Are you prepared for a fire? Although it’s difficult to prepare for the unexpected, reviewing the information below and taking action based on it to plan for a fire is strongly recommended, and don’t forget to practice your escape plan during Fire Prevention Week!

Install working smoke alarms on every level, and inside each bedroom and outside of each sleeping area.

Develop a fire escape plan that identifies two ways out of each room and a family meeting place outside.

Make sure your plan allows for any specific needs in your household. If everyone knows what to do, everyone can get out quickly.

Practice your plan, at least twice a year.

Some studies have shown that some children and adults may not awaken to the sound of a smoke alarm; they may need help waking up.

If the smoke alarm sounds: Go to your closest exit, and if there is smoke on your way out, turn and use your second way out. If you must exit through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit. Don’t take time to pick up belongings; just get out and help others get out. Move fast but stay calm.

Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by fire departments across the country. For 85 years fire departments have observed Fire Prevention Week, making it the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The Natchez Firefighters Association will host a Benefit Fish Fry from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Duncan Park. Tickets are $6 and you may contact any of the local firefighters. A portion of this year’s proceeds will be donated to Mary Ann Ford and her family’s medical bills.

Aaron Wesley is a captain with the Natchez Fire Department.