Fire Officials Urge Residents to Have Two Ways Out

By Rod Boshart, Reporter

DES MOINES, Iowa – The State Fire Marshal's office is urging Iowans to spend this fire prevention week of Oct. 7-13 making sure they have two ways out of their residences in case of a fire.

According to the non-profit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one-third of American households that were surveyed estimated they would have at least six minutes before a fire in their home becomes life threatening.

However, fire officials say the time available is often much less.

For that reason the Iowa State Fire Marshal's Office is teaming up with national association on a "Have Two Ways Out!" campaign to focus on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.

In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires, which caused a total of 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage.

"During 2011 within the US, one home structure fire was reported every 23 seconds," says State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds. "Fire is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize. Having a tried and true escape plan with two ways out is essential to ensuring your family's safety should fire break out in your home."

The State Fire Marshal office 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 the 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.

Be sure your children know their home address.

To learn more about "Have Two Ways Out!" click here.
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