Two Ways Out” is this year's theme for the National Fire Protection
Association's annual Fire Prevention Week, which runs Oct. 7-13.
According to the NFPA, "It is important to have a home fire escape plan
that prepares your family to think fast and get out quickly when the
smoke alarm sounds. The reality is that when fire strikes, your home
could be engulfed in smoke and flames in just a few minutes. What if
your first escape route is blocked by smoke or flames? That's why having
two ways out is such a key part of your plan. 'Have Two Ways Out!'
focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.
you prepared if a fire breaks out in your home? Having working smoke
detectors is not enough. Would you know what to do if your stairs or
exits were blocked by heat and smoke? Have you ever had a home fire
drill with your family planning a second way out?
E.D.I.T.H. (Exit Drills In The Home) was the slogan for the NFPA’s Fire
Prevention Week in 1981. Since then it has become a universal program
and the standard for fire education teachers and professionals.
E.D.I.T.H. will help you and your family prepare for a fire emergency,
getting you out of your home safely and quickly.
When preparing a fire escape plan, draw a diagram of your home showing
all hallways, doors and windows. Include the whole family and keep it
simple so everyone understands it. In one color draw arrows showing the
regularly used exits. In a second color draw arrows showing a secondary
way out of every room, especially bedrooms.
Go to each room and test the second exit. Whether it’s a door or window
be sure they open and close and are not painted shut. Make sure all
locks work and screens come out easily. If the exit is above the first
floor, store a fire safety ladder close to the window and practice using
it on a first floor window. Set up a meeting place preferably on your
neighbor’s front lawn or sidewalk. Call the fire department from your
cell phone or from your neighbor’s house. Once everyone is out, stay
out. Most people who go back into a burning building don’t come out.
Three out of four people who perish in fires die from smoke inhalation.
Report any missing family members or pets to the firefighters when they
Bedroom doors should be closed while asleep, keeping out unwanted heat
and smoke. When the smoke alarms sound, teach everyone to roll out of
bed and to crawl low under smoke to the bedroom door.
“When smokes around, we get down.” Feel the door starting from bottom up
with the back of your hand. Feel the metal doorknob, as it will heat up
faster. If the door is hot or if you see smoke coming from under the
door, don’t open it. Yell out loud ”Fire Fire, Help Help” alerting other
Grownups' bedrooms should be close to younger children or persons with
physical or mental handicaps assisting with their escape. Children
should always be assisted out first. Drills should be conducted at least
twice a year. Install and maintain smoke detectors outside sleeping
areas and if possible in all bedrooms, testing them monthly.
Planning and practicing a family fire escape plan will ensure that your family and loved ones are ready for any fire emergency.
Author's Note: A great place to visit to learn about fire safety,
including E.D.I.T.H. and smoke alarms, is the Nassau County Firefighters
Museum and Education Center
. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday
from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Gerald Cadigan is a 38-year veteran of the fire service
currently employed by the Village of Garden City serving more than 31
years with the career staff of the Garden City Fire Department. He is
also a Fire Safety Specialist with the Nassau County Fire Academy,
Public Fire Education Division. He is a graduate from LIU CW Post, with a
BA in criminal justice.
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