By Michael Campbell
Special to GUIDON
In a fire, every second counts. It is important for members of our community to know what to do if there is a fire. Fire safety education isn’t just for school children.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere,” works to educate people about three ways they can reduce the likelihood of having a fire –– and how to escape safely if they have one:
— Look for places fire could start. Take a good look around your home. Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them.
— Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm. You could have only minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the home and where everyone should know to meet.
— Learn two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
Situational awareness is an essential part in eliminating hazards so the probability of a fire will be low. With that in mind, working smoke alarms in homes and places of work provides an early warning so everyone can evacuate the building safely with minimal delay.
Develop an escape plan so everyone can get out. And remember this saying:
“If you don’t practice your escape plan, during an emergency is probably the wrong time to figure out it doesn’t work…”
Once outside the building, ”Never go back inside.” Statistics indicates that most firefighter fatalities are within 5 feet from an exit. Even with training and proper personal protective equipment, elements of a fire can be deadly.
For more information on fire safety, contact the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department’s Prevention section at 573.596.0886.
(Editor’s note: Campbell is a fire inspector with the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department.)