Fire Prevention Week teaching that Every Second Counts

This is Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 8-14, 2017. This year’s theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”, explains Oconee County Fire Marshal and Assistant Fire Chief Shane Gibbs. “Basically what that means is whether you are in your own home, in somebody else’s home, or whether you are in a commercial building, in a restaurant, or out on the town; in case of a fire, you always need to have two ways out. Whether it is two doors or a door and a window. To accomplish that, sit down with your family, neighbors, and loved ones and plan a fire escape plan. We think of our homes as a safe haven and we want to make your home a safe haven by coming up with a fire escape plan. Make sure everyone knows the plan, knows where to meet once they leave the home, we recommend not re-entering the home by no means even if you have left anything, and make sure that everybody is accounted for once you leave the house.” 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. That’s why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely. During Fire Prevention Week, residents are encouraged to develop a home escape plan and practice it. A home escape plan includes a working carbon monoxide alarm (if needed) and 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’s a safe distance from the home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week. Here are some additional tips for developing and practicing a home escape plan: Draw a map of your home 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. Install recuse ladders for bedrooms above the second floor. 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. For more information about Fire Prevention Week, visit