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National Fire Prevention Week encourages Louisiana to 'Plan Your Escape'

Staff Report

The National Fire Protection Association declared October 9-15, 2022, as National Fire Prevention Week across the United States. It is the initiative’s 100th anniversary.

This year’s theme is “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape,” which aims to educate our communities about the importance of having a home escape plan that is practiced and familiar to all members of a household, especially children, older adults, and people with disabilities.

“Our state requires frequent fire alarm drills in occupancies like schools and health care facilities to ensure people inside know what to do and where to go in the event of a fire emergency," State Fire Marshal Dan Wallis said. "Why don’t we have the same standard of safety in our own homes?”

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office believes this 100th anniversary call to action for Fire Prevention Week is the perfect opportunity for every family to create a home escape plan, if one doesn’t exist yet, and to make a commitment to practice it at least twice a year. The best time to do that is when you are testing your life-saving devices each month, like smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, to ensure they’re in working order.

Some of the best elements of a home escape plan include:

  • Every person knowing at least two ways out of every room in a home.
  • Ensuring all hallways and doorways, especially those exiting the home, are easily accessible and clear of clutter or furniture.
  • Having a safe meeting place outside of the home where everyone can be accounted for and 911 can be called.

According to the NFPA, home fires killed more than 3,800 people in the United States in 2021. Of those deaths, 59 were Louisiana residents. Statistics from investigations conducted by the State Fire Marshal’s Office that year show working smoke alarms were found in only 10 of those homes. So far in 2022, Louisiana already has surpassed 2021’s fatality count, and fall and winter season are when Louisiana traditionally has seen an increase in home fires and fire fatalities.

Over the next few days, the SFM, along with your local fire departments and districts, will be sharing various tips in relation to this year’s theme through a variety of graphics, pictures and videos as well as an art poster challenge for the educational community involved with the Louisiana PTA, which Wallis will be judging.

These materials will be shared via social media platforms and through community events and presentations that the fire service is hosting or is invited to. Those will range from school and senior community visits to fire station open houses and parades. For more information about Fire Prevention Week, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.