Whitesburg KY

Practice your escape plan

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 started the flames for the birth of Fire Prevention Week.

On October 9, 1871, a horrific fire broke out in Chicago resulting in over 250 losses of life, and leaving over 100,000 homeless. The fire destroyed thousands and thousands of structures in Chicago over a two-day period.

Since the outbreak of that fire, fire prevention has become a priority to the fire services to educate preschool-age children up to geriatric adults. The children are taught (1) the stop, drop and roll method in the event their clothes catch on fire; (2) practice and learn at least two ways out of their home in the event of a fire; (3) don’t play with matches/ lighters; (4) check their smoke detectors at home and learn what the smoke detector sounds like in the event of a fire; (5) once outside the home or school, never go back inside until a grownup has assured everything is safe, and to call 9-1-1 for emergencies only.

The older adults and senior citizens are taught proper procedures for the use of fire extinguishes by using the P.A.S.S. method: pull, aim, squeeze, sweep. They are also taught installation and checking of smoke detectors, know at least two ways out of the home in event of fire, and dial 9-1-1 to report fire, police, and ambulance emergencies.

In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge signed a proclamation declaring the week of October 8 to be Fire Prevention Week.

The theme for Fire Prevention Week this year is “Practice Your Escape Plan.” Here are some fire safety tips for this year’s Fire Prevention Week.

1. Practice your escape plan with your family.

2. Know at least two ways out in the event of a fire.

3. Have a safe and designated meeting place once outside the home.

4. Never go back inside the home once outside.

5. Call 9-1-1 from a cell phone or neighbor’s phone.

6. Keep yourself and your family safe from fire.

Mark A. Sexton is captain of the Whitesburg Fire Department.

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