La. State Fire Marshal's Office urges residents to 'Have Two Ways Out!'
during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

If you woke up to a fire in your home, how much time do you think you would have to get to safety? According to State Fire Marshal H. "Butch" Browning, you have less than two minutes to quickly escape with little time to help others and no time to save belongings.

That's why the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office is teaming up with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and local fire departments during Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, 2012, to urge residents to "Have Two Ways Out!" This year's theme focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.

In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage.

"One home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds in 2010," says Marshal Browning. "Fire is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize. Having a tried and true escape plan with two ways is essential to ensuring your family's safety should fire break out in your home."

The State Fire Marshal recommends the following tips for planning your family's escape:

  • Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home.
  • Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.
  • Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they've escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.
  • Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan.
  • Have a grown-up sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in your home.
  • Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and remind grown-ups to have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.

Local fire departments will be hosting activities during Fire Prevention Week to promote "Have Two Ways Out!" Through these educational, family-oriented activities, residents can learn more about the importance of fire escape planning and practice, as well as the power of prevention.

To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities in Louisiana, please contact your local fire department. To learn more about "Have Two Ways Out!" visit NFPA's Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org or at lasfm.org.