You and your family are fast asleep when the smoke alarm sounds: Do you know what to do?
Consider this scenario: It’s 2 o’clock in the morning. You and your family are fast asleep when you awaken to the smoke alarm sounding and the smell of smoke. What do you do? If you and your family don’t have a plan in place, it could jeopardize your safety, or even prove deadly.
In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. That’s why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” works to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it.
In support of Fire Prevention Week, Des Moines area Fire Departments encourage households to develop a plan together and practice it. A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole, or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home.
The National Fire Protection Association offers these additional tips and recommendations for developing and practicing a home escape plan:
- 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.
- Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the 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.
Des Moines Area Fire Prevention Week Events & Activities
Many Des Moines area fire departments will host open houses and educational events during Fire Prevention Week. Firemen and women will be available to provide information about the latest fire prevention tips and give families an opportunity to learn through interactive activities, a few will also have food and refreshments available.
Each year during prevention week the Altoona Fire Department provides several tours of their Fire Station and talks to local schools about the importance of fire safety. They will also be hosting a Firefighters Association Pancake on Saturday, October 28th. This is a fundraiser for the fire department to help purchase an inflatable obstacle course for their public education initiatives. Find up to date info. about the Altoona Fire Department on their Facebook page.
The Ankeny Fire Department typically hosts on Open House during Fire Prevention Week. The event features traditional interactive educational displays, a children’s firefighter challenge course, the fire safety house, opportunities to spray a real fire hose, a fire extinguisher trainer for teens and adults and more! Watch the City’s Calendar and Facebook page for the exact date and time.
The Clive Fire Department opens their doors annually and invites the public to come see the station and meet fire department staff. The Open House is typically hosted the Saturday morning of Fire Prevention Week, but be sure to watch their Facebook page for the specific date and time.
As part of Fire Prevention Week, the Des Moines Fire Department hosts an annual Open House at the Fire Administration Building (2715 Dean Avenue). Activities include: fire safety interactive displays, the Fire Safety House, fire apparatus displays, fire safety movies, face painting, clowns, and more! Watch the City’s website for an invite to the event. The Fire Department also provides a number of public education programs.
The Indianola Fire Department hosts an annual Public Safety Open House during Fire Prevention Week. They also take their ambulance, fire trucks and other fire apparatus out to visit area schools and discuss the importance of fire safety and smoke detectors with students. Visit their Facebook page for additional information.
The Johnston-Grimes Metropolitan Fire Department provides public education to the community with a focus on reaching children through programs delivered at the local schools. The Fire Department does host an annual Open House, but it is held in conjunction with Johnston’s City Week, which is held for one week every October.
Visitors can learn more about the Urbandale Fire Department and the services they provide to the community at their Annual Fire Prevention Week Open House. Take a tour of the station and a variety of emergency vehicles. Information on important home safety devices such as home fire sprinklers, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers will be available for visitors to take home. Watch their Facebook page for the date of this year’s event.
The Waukee Fire Department provides several tours of their Fire Station to community groups and visits local schools each year during Fire Prevention Week, to talk about the importance of fire safety.
The West Des Moines Fire Deparment kicks off Fire Prevention Week with their Annual Memorial Ceremony that honors their firefighters who passed away in the last year. They end it with their Annual Pancake Breakfast and Open House. All proceeds go to the West Des Moines Firefighters Association to be used for equipment, training and fire prevention supplies. Be sure to keep an eye on their Facebook page for event dates.
The 2017 Delivering Fire Prevention event will be held Wednesday, October 11th, from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Safe Kids Greater Des Moines will partner with Blank Children’s Hospital, the Des Moines Fire Department and Papa John’s Pizza to promote fire safety and the importance of working smoke alarms. Simply order a Papa John’s pizza for delivery at one of the participating locations during the event time and your dinner may be delivered by a fire truck! While at your home, firefighters will test your smoke alarms. If your alarms are in working order, they will provide you with a coupon for a FREE Papa John’s pizza. If your alarms are not in working order, firefighters will install new alarms in your home.
To learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out” and home escape planning, visit firepreventionweek.org.