Dee Jepsen – State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader
At work, at home, on the farm, or in the community… fires do not discriminate where they appear, or what they destroy. The theme for this year’s prevention week is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” The message reinforces the need for everyone to have an escape plan.
Emergency response plans are critical for homes and businesses. Fires can spread rapidly, often times trapping victims in minutes. Always have 2 ways to escape every room.
• Start with a map of your home or business, including all doors and windows.
• Talk with family and employees about their exit strategies
• Purchase a fire ladder for homes, apartments, and offices with second or third floors.
• Have an outside meeting place for everyone to gather and be accounted for; ideally this should be a safe distance from the building.
• Practice your escape plan using the different exit route scenarios, testing that doors and windows are easily opened when needed.
• All family members and employees should be able to execute the plan on their own; this includes children and seniors. Additional accommodations may be required when persons have physical or cognitive disabilities.
In addition your escape plan, there are two other important practices to take this month:
- CHANGE the batteries in your smoke detector. If you don’t have at least 1 detector on each level of your home or apartment, then INSTALL a smoke detector now! Having an alert system will help save lives in the unfortunate event of a fire emergency.
- CHECK your portable fire extinguishers. It’s recommended to have an extinguisher in the kitchen and garage areas for small fires that can be contained quickly.
For more information on fire prevention, including helpful worksheets for planning and preparing for fire emergencies, please visit the National Fire Protection Association website at http://www.nfpa.org