State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego is urging Pennsylvanians to “learn the sounds of fire safety,” as part of this year’s Fire Prevention Week. He marked the occasion by participating in Yorkana Volunteer Fire Company’s prevention week open house, where families and other residents can learn about fire risks from the experts.
Today’s homes are filled with synthetic materials that burn hotter and faster than ever. In a typical fire, you may have as little as two minutes to safely exit the structure from the time you first hear a smoke alarm. Knowing how to use that time wisely is critical, and it takes both planning and practice.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety™,” works to educate everyone about the different sounds the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make. Knowing what to do when an alarm sounds will keep you and your family safe. When an alarm makes noises – a beeping sound or a chirping sound – you must take action.
“Confusion and inaction are your worst enemy in the critical first few seconds following an alert from a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector in your home,” Trego said. “Planning your escape and practicing that plan in advance are absolutely vital to protecting your safety.”
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 that’s a safe distance from the home.
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 adults are not able to help them.
- Make sure your house number 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.
- Never go back inside a burning building. Once outside, stay outside.