National Fire Prevention Week: “Look. Listen. Learn.”
In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson announced the first ever event to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred in October of 1874. Each October since 1924, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has led the annual charge to implement National Fire Prevention Week™. This year’s observance takes place this week, with the theme, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere™.” I guess that includes doghouses!
National Fire Prevention Week is designed to educate the public about basic but essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire. As the foremost provider of online fire life safety training programs in the country, the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training division champions the campaign, as it reinforces our motto—saving lives through training.
- Although the number of U.S. home fires has been steadily declining over the past few decades, four out of five U.S. fire deaths occur at home.
- S. fire departments respond to an average of one home fire every 86 seconds.
- On average, seven people per day die in U.S. home fires.
- Today’s home fires burn faster than ever. 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. Doghouses go up in smoke even more quickly!
- Knowing how to use time wisely takes planning and practice.
- Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home-fire injuries.
- For decades, smoking has been the leading cause of home-fire deaths.
- Heating equipment is often involved in home-fire deaths.
While significant progress has been made relative to fire prevention over the past several decades, there is room for growth in terms of educating the public about how to protect themselves if a fire ignites. Ironically, although people say they feel safest in their own homes, people are at greatest risk of fire while at home. Over-confidence and complacency prevent people from actively planning and practicing escape plans. Don’t be complacent! Drill, drill, drill.
This year’s “Look. Listen. Learn.” campaign highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire:
- Lookfor places fire could start.
- Listenfor the sound of the smoke alarm.
- Learntwo ways out of every room.
The NFPA focuses National Fire Prevention Week on home fires, including high-rise residential buildings. Such structures present several unique challenges not found in traditional low-rise facilities:
- Longer egress times and distance
- Evacuation strategies
- Fire department accessibility
- Smoke movement
- Fire control
Post 9/11, most people appreciate the complexities associated with escaping high-rise buildings. Multiple floors require large numbers of people (and pets, if applicable) to travel long vertical distances on stairs in order to evacuate the building. If you are in a high-rise building when a fire starts, take these steps:
- Goto your outside meeting place and stay there.
- Call the fire department. Don’t assume someone else has already made the call.
- If someone is trapped in the building, notify the fire department.
- If you can’t get out of your apartment because of fire, smoke or a disability, stuffwet towels or sheets around the door and vents to keep smoke out.
- Call the fire department and tell them where you are.
- Open a window slightly and wave a bright cloth to signal your location. Be prepared to close the window if smoke conditions worsen, as letting in more oxygen could fuel the fire.
- Since fire department evacuations of a high-rise building can take a long time, communicate with the fire department to monitor evacuation progress.
High-Rise Fire Safety
To make sure you and your building occupants are prepared in a fire emergency at your residential, commercial or higher education space, subscribe to our interactive, e-learning program. The Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System offers products to train people specific to their environment. The system offers resources for properties with mixed-use tenants or in locations that are commercial/residential based. In either case, when an occupant logs in, the system determines if the subscriber is in the commercial portion of the building or the residential portion, then provides training perfectly suited to his or her situation.
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