“Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” That’s the message behind this year’s national Fire Prevention campaign, which works to educate the public about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe. Fire Prevention Week was October 6-12 and the Greenville City Fire Department (GCFD) is working in coordination with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week, to reinforce this potentially life-saving message.
NFPA statistics show that in 2017 U.S. fire departments responded to 357,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,630 fire deaths and 10,600 fire injuries. On average, seven people died in a fire in a home per day from 2012 to 2016.
“These numbers show that home fires continue to pose a significant threat to safety,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of outreach and advocacy. “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.”
In support of Fire Prevention Week, GCFD encourages all Greenville residents to develop a plan and practice it. A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) that is a safe distance from the home.
“Developing and practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory,” said Marie Mire, GCFD’s community risk reduction coordinator. “That pre-planning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.”
To help raise awareness locally, several community partners joined with GCFD to hold fire-safety related events:
Wednesday, October 9
128 N Main St
GCFD and truck on-site with GCFD and fire prevention-related questions. The winner will receive an authentic fire helmet.
Friday, October 11
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
420 N Pleasantburg Dr
Firefighters will deliver free pizzas to select callers and provide a free smoke alarm check.
Saturday, October 12
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
1011-A Lowndes Hill Rd
Escape-specific workout of the day
NFPA and GCFD offer these additional tips and recommendations for developing and practicing a home escape plan:
- Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows.
- Mark at least two ways out of every room, if possible.
- Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
- 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.
- Close doors behind you as you leave — this may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
View GCFD’s Plan and Practice Your Escape PSA. To learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign and home escape planning, visit firepreventionweek.org.