October is Fire Prevention Month: Create a fire escape map of your home and practice getting out safely

October is Fire Prevention Month: Create a fire escape map of your home and practice getting out safely

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue encourages you to be an everyday hero by creating and practicing a home fire escape plan today.

This year, the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal campaign, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape — Plan and Practice Your Escape,” focuses on the importance of knowing what to do in the event of a fire.

The two most common causes of Oregon residential fires in 2018 were cooking and heating, and the 3,122 residential structure fires resulted in 30 deaths, 125 civilian injuries, and $80 million in property and content loss.

The majority of people who die in a fire succumb to heat and smoke inhalation, not flames. Having working smoke alarms in your home greatly increases your chances of surviving a fire.

Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These alarms use strobe lights and/or vibration to alert residents.

Fire is nothing like what you see on television or in the movies. It produces dark and deadly smoke that can fill your home in minutes and can confuse you to the point that you never make it out. That is why every firefighter wears an air pack before entering a burning building and uses thermal imagers to search for victims.

Most fatal fires happen at night when people are sleeping. Working smoke alarms are designed to activate early to help ensure that you and your family have time to safely escape from your home.

We recommend drawing a map of your home with all members of your household and marking two exits from each room and a path to your designated safe meeting place outside from each exit. One of those exits could be a window.

Once you have an escape map, have a home fire drill and practice using different ways out. We recommend closing doors behind you as you leave to help slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. It’s important to teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them. Families with infants, toddlers, and loved ones with mobility needs should make special plans to ensure everyone gets out safely.

Once outside, remain outside, and call 911. Never go back inside a burning building for anything.

For more fire prevention tips and tools to create a fire escape plan, visit www.tvfr.com.