Idaho Falls, ID: 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. Knowing how to use that time wisely takes planning and practice.
The Idaho Falls Fire Department (IFFD) is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) – the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week™ – to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere™.” The campaign works to educate community members about basic but essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire.
NFPA statistics show that the number of U.S. home fires has been steadily declining over the past few decades. However, the death rate per 1000 home fires that are reported to fire departments was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980.
“These numbers show that while we’ve made significant progress in teaching people how to prevent fires from happening, there’s still much more work to do in terms of educating the public about how to protect themselves in the event of one,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “This is particularly critical given the increased speed at which today’s home fires grow and spread.”
Carli also notes that although people feel safest in their home, it is also the place people are at greatest risk to fire, with four out of five U.S. fire deaths occurring at home. That over-confidence contributes to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice.
“Working in the fire service for many years, we know that people often make choices in fire situations that jeopardize their safety or even cost them their lives,” said IFFD Fire Marshal, Scott Grimmett. “We need to teach people about the potentially life-saving difference escape planning and practice can make and motivate them to action.”
Grimmett says this year’s “Look. Listen. Learn.” campaign highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire:
- Look for places fire could start.
- Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.
- Learn 2 ways out of every room.
While NFPA and IFFD are focusing on home fires, these fire safety messages apply to virtually anywhere.
“Situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go,” said Grimmett. “No matter where you are, look for available exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately.”
IFFD and community partners are hosting the 3rd annual Fire Prevention Community Block Party in support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign. The event will be held on Thursday, October 11 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. This FREE, family-oriented event will be held at the Downtown Fire Station 1, 343 “E” Street. Hot dogs, chips and punch will be provided, courtesy of the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen and Community Food Basket.
There will be face painting by Kelly Smith and special guest appearances from Sparky the Fire Dog and Smokey Bear. Add that to a combat challenge, exit drills, fire engine displays, and other activities, and you have a perfect evening out with the family! For youth, ages 14 to 21, who may be interested in becoming a firefighter, IFFD Explorer Post 1565 will provide information on how to become an Explorer, train alongside our firefighters and get involved in the community, all while earning valuable, resume-building certificates! The American Red Cross will offer safety tips on home preparedness, safety plans and smoke detector installation.
The event is sponsored by the Idaho Falls Fire Department, Bonneville County Fire District #1, Ammon Fire Department, Idaho National Laboratory Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service Bureau of Land Management and the American Red Cross.
For more information about Fire Prevention Week and home escape planning, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.
Media Contact: Kerry Hammon, Public Information Officer, Idaho Falls Fire Department, (208) 612-8122 or [email protected].