Back in 1925, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) designated the second week in October as Fire Prevention Week in observance of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The fire, which started in the barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O’Leary burned for two full days (October 8-10) and resulted in the destruction of more than 17,000 buildings, over 200 million dollars in damages and close to 300 deaths. Dry weather and a majority of wooden structures made Chicago excessively vulnerable to fires. National Fire Prevention Week was extended to include the entire month of October as of 2000.
In keeping with our focus on Fire Prevention Month, PMI Bluebonnet Realty would like to remind everyone of measures that can be taken to help save you and your family’s lives in the event of a house fire.
- On average, once a fire starts in your home you will have as little as 2 minutes to escape.
- On average, a house is completely destroyed by fire in approximately 5 minutes.
- Take into consideration that on a daily basis, 1 in 7 people die due to house fires and you can see why early warning devices are critical.
1. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, to include INSIDE EVERY BEDROOM and OUTSIDE OF SLEEPING AREAS.
Closed bedroom doors can slow down smoke and heat caused by a fire, delaying an alarm located inside your bedroom. Make sure to have smoke alarms both inside and outside of bedrooms.
Test smoke alarms each and EVERY month. Make sure alarms are working and change batteries when necessary.
Make sure children know and recognize the sound of your smoke alarm
2. Have a fire escape plan and PRACTICE your plan AT LEAST twice a year.
Humans are creatures of habit, especially children and elderly. Hold fire drills so your escape plan becomes habit.
Additionally, make sure you have OPTIONS so that if one escape route is blocked, there are familiar alternatives. There should always be at least two escape options from each room.
If there are small children or elderly members in your household, make sure someone is designated to help them evacuate the home.
Make sure windows and doors can be opened, especially by children and elderly.
Make sure your pathways are clear of furniture and other obstacles. And remember, STAY LOW to the ground.
3. If you do have a house fire, GET OUT and STAY OUT.
Call for help once you are outside. Make sure EVERYONE knows the emergency number to call.
Have an agreed upon meeting area so that you will know if someone is still inside your home.
Make sure your house numbers are easily visible to emergency personnel.
As desperate as you might be, refrain from going back inside a burning structure. Wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
4. YOU CAN DO THIS. If you become trapped, DO NOT PANIC.
If you live in a high rise, do NOT use the elevators.
Close ALL doors AND windows. Put towels, sheets, or clothes at the bottom of the door to help slow down smoke entering the room. Cover vents as well if you can.
Stay as close to a window as possible. Use a flashlight or if you need to, wave a bright cloth to call attention to your location.
If you have to open a window, keep in mind smoke may start coming into the room and you may need to close the window to protect yourself.
Always stay as close to the ground as possible
Your home and possessions can be replaced. This is not true when it comes to the loss of people we love and care about. As your neighbors, we at PMI Bluebonnet Realty care about you, your family, and our community.
“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”
Michael J. Fox