In honor of Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 8-14), the O’Fallon Fire Department will be joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind local residents that in a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of the community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy. This year’s theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”
“I urge all the people of O’Fallon to develop and practice a home fire escape plan. Having two ways out reduces the chances of being trapped by a fire. In addition, install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement, and make sure to replace them every ten years,” said Mayor Herb Roach. “Please support the many public activities, and efforts of O’Fallon’s fire and emergency services during Fire Prevention Week 2017.”
Fires are a serious public safety concern both locally and nationally. Homes are the locations where people are at the greatest risk from fire. Home fires killed more than 2,290 people in the United States in 2016, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires each day. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half. When smoke alarms are installed but do not operate it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
“In a fire, seconds count,” said Fire Chief Brent Saunders. “Roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night, between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep. Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving everyone enough time to get out. Having a practiced fire drill with two ways out provides for safer exiting during a critical time.”
To learn more about “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out,” visit NFPA’s website at www.firepreventionweek.org.
The O’Fallon Fire Department will be hosting its annual Fire Prevention Open House on Thursday, Oct. 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Fire Station No. 4, 1215 Taylor Road.
At the open house, there will be numerous activities for the family to enjoy, including fire and EMS apparatus displays, fire truck rides, a fire slide pole, fire safety house, the Scott Air Force Base Fire Puppet Show, and fire extinguisher demonstrations. The ARCH Helicopter will be making an appearance each night, weather and time permitting.
Fire Safety Tips
The O’Fallon Fire Department recommends the following tips:
▪ Draw a map of your home by using the NFPA grid 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 the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
▪ Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
▪ Close doors behind you as you leave — this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.