Home Escape Planning

Not Every Hero Wears a Cape: Plan and Practice Your Escape.

That’s the theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Month, observed by the O’Fallon Protection District each October in conjunction with the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 6-12).

Explains the NFPA: “In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. … In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.”

By planning and practicing your home escape with everyone in your household, you can help ensure the safety of your loved ones. Here are a few things to keep in mind when working on your home escape plan:

  • Draw a map of your home marking all doors and windows. Identify two ways out of every room, and make sure doors and windows open easily so they can be used to quickly get outside. Consider investing in fire escape ladders for upper floors.
  • While reviewing exits, also identify all smoke alarms; make sure there is one on every level of your home, and inside/outside each bedroom. Teach kids what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one. Set monthly reminders to test smoke alarm batteries.
  • Choose a meeting spot a safe distance away from your home where everyone knows to meet in the event of an emergency.
  • Create a family emergency communications plan so that everyone knows who to contact if they can’t find one another. Make sure all family members also know how to call 911.
  • If members of your household have mobility issues, make sure that pathways are clear and doorways wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, etc.
  • Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. 

As part of its Fire Prevention Month programming, OFPD will also host its annual Fire Safety Day on Sunday, Oct. 6 at The Shops at Laura Hill, in the Kohl’s parking lot. This free event, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will feature a display of area fire trucks, as well as several community safety groups who will help you understand the importance of practicing fire safety in your home! 

All are invited to come enjoy the day with family and friends; other activities will include a kids challenge course, bounce house, kids activities, and hot dogs and chips.

For more Fire Prevention Month resources, visit www.nfpa.org.