General News

Fire Prevention Week Focuses on Safe Escape

Posted on Oct 08, 2019

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6-12. Organizations throughout the country are banding together to remind parents and children about important fire safety tips.

The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) statistics show that in 2017 U.S. fire departments responded to 357,000 home structure fires. 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.

The NFPA indicates that during a typical home fire, you may have as little as one or two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have. Seconds count in escaping a fire – be prepared.

Five things to include in your fire escape plan:

  1. Draw a map of your home of each level of your home. On your map make sure to show the following: All doors, windows and smoke alarms.
  2. Have two ways out of each room. Also, make sure each person can open all the windows and doors. Mark a safe location to meet near the front of your home.
  3. Know how to keep yourself safe when escaping. A few things to know and practice:
    1. Crawling low to the floor to avoid toxic smoke.
    2. Closing doors on your way out to help slow the spread of fire, giving more time to safely escape.
    3. Stop, drop and roll if clothes catch on fire.
    4. How to call 9-1-1 to get help.
  4. Get out and stay out. Designate a meeting location a safe distance in front of your home – like at the end of the driveway, on the sidewalk or near a certain tree. You want it to be near the front of your home so the firefighters will know that you’re out.
  5. Have a fire drill twice a year. Fire drills aren’t just for schools, but for your home too. It is recommended that you prepare and practice your fire escape plan twice a year with everyone in your household, including children.

The Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition, led by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, and numerous Pinellas County fire departments have banded together to keep kids and families safe from fire related injuries,” says Petra Vybiralova, Safe Kids Supervisor for the Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition.  “When it comes to fires and burns, we have to be proactive and teach children about an escape plan and a meeting spot outside of the home. It is also important to practice the escape plan you created with your family."

The City of St. Petersburg offers free smoke detectors throughout the year. According to Lt. Steve Lawrence with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue, a member of the Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition, “You should always have working smoke detectors in your home because smoke can get to you before the fire and limit your ability to escape. Early detection is important. It’s a cheap life insurance policy,” he said.

If you are outside of St. Petersburg and need a smoke detector, contact your local fire department to see if they make them available to the public.

During the month of October, many fire departments in Pinellas County will hold community safety awareness events.

Safety Awareness Events

Oct. 12: St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Block Party at Fossil Park (6635 Dr. M.L. King Jr. St. N., St. Petersburg) from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

Oct. 19: East Lake Fire 5K at 8 a.m. – Register Now            

For more fire safety Information, read the Safe Kids Fire Safety Tips.

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