Planning ahead can make all the difference


We have a lot of respect for the men and women who form the ranks of firefighters around Lincoln County. The majority of them are serving as volunteers, and they are asked to do an awful lot considering they receive little in return, other than the knowledge they are making a difference in their communities.

October is Fire Prevention Month, and Oct. 6-12 is Fire Prevention Week. This is yet another reminder of how fortunate we are to have the squads of people willing to come to our aid should we ever be affected by a fire. We hope we never need them, but at the same time, this month is also a reminder that there are things we, too, can do to ensure our family members and home are prepared.

In 1922, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) proclaimed the second week of October as Fire Prevention Week in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Today, we celebrate Fire Prevention Week and Month by raising fire safety awareness and educating families, students and communities across the United States. NFPA’s 2019 campaign is titled, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape.”

“During a typical home fire, you may have just minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds,” says Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “Planning and practicing escapes can help you and your family make the most of this narrow window of time and give everyone enough time to get out safely.”

In the five-year period from 2014 through 2018, home fires in Oregon killed 154 people and injured another 1,029. The state fire marshal’s office says there are some simple steps people can take to plan and prepare for a safe home fire escape:

  • Ensure your home has working smoke alarms and remember to check them monthly.
  • Make an escape map, showing every window and door, and share it with everyone in the household.
  • Know two ways out of every room, if possible.
  • Have an outside meeting place a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.
  • Practice your home fire drill at least twice a year, during the night and day.
  • When the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out; never go back inside for others or pets.
  • Once outside, then call 9-1-1.

This information is probably nothing new to most of us, but while we may hear and understand the message, we don’t always act on it.

For those of you who have already prepared, congratulations. For the rest of us, let’s use this month as a time to actually put into practice what we know we need to do. If you would like to learn more about fire safety, contact your local fire agency or visit the state fire marshal’s website at www.oregon.gov/osp/sfm.

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