Galesburg Fire Department Urges Residents to "Have Two Ways Out!"

October 10, 2012 04:30 PM
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 the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one-third of Americans households believe they have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. Unfortunately, the time available is often less.  
That's why Galesburg's fire department is teaming up with NFPA 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. 
For the first 8 months of 2012, property loss from fire in Galesburg is estimated at $2,284,000 - double that of the entire year of 2011.  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. 
"In the U.S. one home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds in 2010," says Dan Foley, Fire Marshal of the Galesburg Fire Department. "We've had 32 structure fires in Galesburg already this year.  Fire is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize.  Having a tried and true plan with two ways of escape and practicing it is essential to ensuring your family's safety should fire break out in your home."  
The Galesburg Fire Department recommends the following tips for planning your family's escape:
  • 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 911 as our 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.
It is important to practice when kids are asleep to make it realistic.  "Sometimes when my family practiced, we would do it after the kids were asleep.  Then after the drill we would have an ice cream party to talk about how they did," says Dan.
During the month of October, the Galesburg Fire Department will be reinforcing the "Have Two Ways Out!" theme in area schools through the use of the Risk Watch safety curriculum.  Risk Watch is used by many Galesburg teachers to teach safety on 8 areas including fire, water, poison, bicycle, etc.  Firefighters will be making classroom presentations doing a "home safety drill" in the classroom.  Of students in classrooms using Risk Watch, one student from each school (K-3rd grade) will be chosen to ride to school in a fire truck!   Also scheduled this month are fire station tours and school fire drills.
To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities in Galesburg, please contact the Galesburg Fire Department at (309)345-3756. To learn more about "Have Two Ways Out!" visit NFPA's Web site at .


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