Springfield, Ill.- The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) kicks off National Fire Prevention Week 2019. Governor JB Pritzker proclaimed October 6 through October 12 as Fire Prevention Week in Illinois to encourage residents to learn, prepare and practice for emergencies.
This year’s theme is “Not every Hero Wears A Cape. Plan and Practice your Escape.” Fire Prevention Week is observed every year during the week of October 9th commemorating the Great Fire of Chicago that killed more than 250 people and left 100,000 homeless. Firefighters across the state will be visiting schools to teach students the importance of fire safety. In fire emergencies, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. It is imperative to have an escape plan in place for your home. Each occupant should know multiple exits and paths to safety.
“Fire doesn’t discriminate and can occur anywhere and anytime,” says State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “Holding a family meeting and coming up with a plan is vital to creating a fire safe home. This October, please encourage the residents in your communities to practice their plan by holding a fire drill at home. Make sure family members know two exits out of every room and where designated meeting spot is located outside of the home. Plan another drill in the year to serve as a reminder and refresher.”
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends the following:
• Draw a map of your home that clearly identifies pathways to two exits.
• Practice your home fire drill twice a year- one at night and one during the day- with everyone in the family.
• Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
• Clearly mark your home so fire departments and first responders can find it easily.
• Close doors behind you as you leave to slow the spread of smoke and fire.
• Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
In 2018, there were over 15,500 residential fires in Illinois. Additionally, Illinois fire departments reported 105 residential civilian fire deaths, which is 89% percent of all fire deaths in the state.
For more information about National Fire Prevention Week, please visit the NFPA website.