'Every Second Counts' is Fire Protection Week's Theme

NFPA said a recent national survey it conducted shows that Americans continue to have many mistaken ideas about home escape planning and practice.

The official theme for this year's Fire Prevention Week is "Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out," which is a reference to the fact that newer homes burn faster than ever, the National Fire Protection Association said in announcing the theme. The week, Oct. 8-14, supports the theme.

Residents may have as little as two minutes, possibly less, to safely escape a typical home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds. "Modern home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight construction, all contribute to an increased rate at which home fires burn," said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. "These factors make home escape planning and practice critical."

NFPA said a recent national survey it conducted shows that Americans continue to have many mistaken ideas about home escape planning and practice:

  • Fewer than half (48 percent) know the correct components of a home fire escape plan include working smoke alarms, two ways out of each room, and an outside meeting place.
  • Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) don't know that each room in the home should have at least two exits.
  • Close to three (57 percent) think that in a typical single-family home fire situation, once the smoke alarm sounds, the average person would have more than two minutes to escape safely.

"Home is the place people are at greatest risk of fire, but ironically, it's the place they feel safest from it," Carli said. "That overconfidence may contribute to the public's continued lack of awareness around home escape planning and practice."

For more information about the week and this year's campaign, visit firepreventionweek.org.

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