Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue: ‘Look. Listen. Learn.’ This Fire Prevention Month

By Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue

October is Fire Prevention Month, and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue encourages you to take three basic but essential steps to reduce the likelihood of a devastating fire in your home and escape safely in the event of one.

This year, the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. ─ Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere,” focuses on the following three steps:

  • LOOK for places a 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 your home and where everyone knows to meet.
  • LEARN two ways out of every room. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.

The three most common causes of Oregon residential fires in 2017 were cooking, heating, and smoking, and the 3,282 residential structure fires resulted in 39 deaths, 130 civilian injuries, and $106.5 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.

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