Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 8-14 and the Shelburne Volunteer Fire Department has already visited local schools and our nursery school programs are underway throughout the month.
One of the most important topics that we emphasize is home escape plans. Having one and practicing it is critically important to your family’s overall safety if a smoke or carbon monoxide detector sounds and you need to evacuate.
National statistics show that nearly 50 percent of Americans report that they do not have a home escape plan. Let’s work together in Shelburne to make that zero.
Developing an escape plan is not hard. Draw a simple floor plan of your house. Show windows and doors, as they become the two ways out of every room and the two ways out of your house.
Designate your family meeting place outside and well away from your house. When the Fire Department arrives, if you tell us everyone is out and safe, our job is pretty much done. We will work on fire suppression, but not having to institute a search saves us a lot of time and effort.
The fire department can help you develop a plan. Call and leave a message at 985-2366. As volunteers, we are not at the station 24/7, so give us time to return your call.
The national theme for Fire Prevention Week this year is “Every Second Counts” and it really does. In case of a fire, we want everyone to exit a home, do not go back in, and call from outside for the fire department and wait outside. We want you to be safe.
- Some reasons why every second counts:
- A fire doubles in size every 3 minutes.
- People tend to think they have more time than they really do.
- Smoke is the main killer – make sure you stay low and crawl on your hands and knees to get under smoke.
- A regularly practiced home escape plan ensures that everyone in the home knows what to do if the smoke alarm sounds so they can escape quickly and safely.
- Today’s home fires spread more rapidly than they used to. Synthetic fibers in home furnishings along with more open spaces help fires spread faster. This is why it is critical to get out immediately and do not wait.
One more reminder: Make sure you have working smoke detectors on every floor. Test them regularly and change the batteries at least once a year if not twice when we change our clocks.
Let’s all work together to make Shelburne 100 percent safe. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call the station. Be safe and remember: Fire prevention/safety isn’t just one week of the year, but all 52.
Jim Buell is a former assistant chief of the Shelburne Fire Department.