So far this year, there have been close to 200 house fires in Wichita, as well as four house fire-related deaths. The Wichita Fire Department is reminding residents to prepare and practice an escape plan as part of Fire Prevention Week.
The theme this year is titled "Every Second Counts, Plan Two Ways Out." Wichita Fire Marshall Stuart Bevis says a fire can double in size every 30 seconds. He recommends having an escape plan, as well as practicing it.
"Practice it, not just during the day, but at some point practice it at night where parents set off a smoke alarm and say 'Fire Drill' and have [their children] do it," Bevis says.
Other steps you can take to prepare an escape plan include:
- Practice your home fire drill twice a year.
- Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the address number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building. Call 911 once you are safe.
Carla Eckels is interim news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.
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