“GET OUT! STAY OUT!”
By Chief Rick Alter, Fire Prevention Officer
/ Published March 16, 2007
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Only one-fifth to one-fourth of households (23 percent) have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan to ensure they could escape quickly and safely. One-third of American households who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. The time available is very often less. And only 8 percent said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!
Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Everyone in the household must understand the escape plan. When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily. Also make sure there is at least one smoke detector on every level of your home.
Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan. Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. 9-1-1 is the emergency number except from a cellular phone on Goodfellow Air Force Base. The number to the base fire department is 654-7000.
Practice your home fire escape plan twice a year, making the drill as realistic as possible. Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping. When you do your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice getting low. By keeping your head low, you'll be able to breathe the "good" air that's closer to the floor. Close all doors between you and the fire and finally, when you get out, stay out of a burning house. Never go back in to retrieve anything. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.
For literature and additional information on this or other fire safety related subjects, contact your Goodfellow Fire Department.