Today’s home fires burn faster than ever. In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one or two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Knowing how to use that time wisely takes planning and practice.
October 2, 2019 – Governor Laura Kelly officially proclaimed Oct. 6-12, 2019, as Fire Prevention Week in Kansas. The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and Safe Kids Kansas teamed up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) -- the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week™ for more than 90 years -- to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” The campaign works to educate everyone about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.
In Kansas, there were 2,621 home fires in 2018, which accounted for 33 deaths and 189 injuries. NFPA statistics show that in 2017 U.S. fire departments responded to 357,000 home structure fires in the United States. These fires caused 2,630 fire deaths and 10,600 fire injuries. On average, seven people died in a fire in a home per day during 2012 to 2016.
While many are focusing on home fires, these messages apply to virtually any location.
“Situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go,” Doug Jorgensen, Kansas State Fire Marshal, said. “No matter where you are, look for available exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately.”
While people feel safest in their home, it is also the place people are at greatest risk to fire, with four out of five U.S. fire deaths occurring at home. That over-confidence contributes to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal recommends Kansans should practice their home fire escape drill at least four times a year, during the day and at night. They should also teach children to escape on their own in the event an adult cannot help them.
“Everyone in the home should know how to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone, and they should practice using different ways out,” Jorgensen said.
Safe Kids Kansas would like to remind families that Saturday, Oct. 12, is Home Fire Drill Day. This is an opportunity to plan, talk about and practice your fire plan with all your family members, especially young children, so they know what to do when they hear a smoke alarm.
“Teach children to get low and get out when they hear the smoke alarm,” Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas, said. “A child who has practiced getting out of the home and to a safe meeting spot will have a better chance of getting out of danger safely during a real emergency, so practice your escape plan regularly as a family. “
For more information about Fire Prevention Week activities in Kansas, visit our FPW 2019 page HERE.
To learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” and home escape planning, visit www.fpw.org.
Office of the State Fire Marshal