News Releases

October 10, 2018

Fire Prevention Week - October 7-13, 2018 "Look, Listen, Learn Beware Fire Can Happen Anywhere"

You and your family are fast asleep when the smoke alarm sounds: Do you know what to do?

Consider this scenario: It's 2 o'clock in the morning. You and your family are fast asleep when you awaken to the smoke alarm sounding and the smell of smoke. What do you do? If you and your family don't have a plan in place, it could jeopardize your safety, or even prove deadly.

In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. That's why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.

Look for places fire could start. Take a good look around your home. Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them for example:

* Combustible materials are a minimum of 3 feet from any heating appliance.

* Combustible materials too close to candles.

* Remove extension cords used as a substitute for permanent wiring.

* Make sure dryer vents are clean and free of lint.

* Combustibles are stored away from ovens and cooking appliances

Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm. You could have only minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds, provided you could hear it. Test your smoke alarms monthly to become familiar with the sound. For earliest warning smoke alarms need to be installed on each floor level, in the immediate vicinity of all sleeping rooms and in sleeping rooms. Did you know a smoke alarm activating outside your sleeping room might not be heard while asleep if your bedroom door is closed? It is important to test smoke alarms outside the sleeping rooms with your head on the pillow. If you cannot hear your smoke alarms, we encourage you to have a licensed electrician interconnect all your smoke alarms so if one alarm sounds they all sound. Remember to change your batteries twice a year when you change your clocks. Remember you will be asleep so every second counts.

Learn two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter. "Developing and practicing a home escape plan is critical in reducing your time to escape," said Michael Desrochers, Director, Division of Fire Safety, State of Vermont. "Pre-planning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire." Most importantly, make sure every sleeping room is provided with 2 ways out - a door and an operable escape window in most cases. Windowless bedrooms pose a significant threat to loss of life in a fire. With no window, you are strictly limited to one way out and this pathway maybe easily obstructed by smoke and heat leaving you with no escape route. Additionally, windowless rooms will delay rescue operations and prevent you from breathing fresh air. Windowless rooms in basements are an extreme hazard and pose a major challenge to fire fighters trying to rescue you. The window sash must be low enough - maximum of 44 inches off the floor and unobstructed to allow young children and the elderly access.

The Division of Fire Safety is working in coordination with the Vermont Fire Service and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the official sponsor of the Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, to reinforce those potentially life-saving messages. Home escape planning is one of the most basic but fundamental elements of home fire safety and can truly make the difference between life and death in a fire situation.

In support of Fire Prevention Week, the Division of Fire Safety and the Vermont Fire Service encourages all Vermonters to develop a plan together and practice it. A home escape plan includes working photo-electric type 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 (like a tree, light pole, or mailbox) that's a safe distance from the home.

NFPA and the Division of Fire Safety offer these additional tips and recommendations 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 you can't help them.

* Make sure the number of your home 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.

* Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

For more information about Fire Prevention Week activities in your community, contact your local fire department. For additional safety information, you can visit our web page at www.firesafety.vermont. To learn more about this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign, "Look, Listen, Learn Beware Fire Can Happen Anywhere", visit firepreventionweek.org.

Media Contact: Michael Desrochers, Executive Director Division of Fire Safety, 802-479-7539, Michael.desrochers@vermont.gov

Source: Division of Fire Safety
Last Updated at: October 10, 2018 09:49:02