Seconds Can Mean the Difference Between Life and Death
The theme for this year's Fire Prevention Week Oct. 8-14 is "Every Second Counts; Plan 2 Ways Out!"
Working smoke alarms, which cut the chances of dying in a house fire in half, are a family's first indication of a fire. But once that alarm sounds a fire can spread quickly, leaving only a minute or two to escape, according to the National Fire Protection Association. That's why it's so important to have an
escape plan and practice it using different ways out of the house. NFPA offers more educational resources on fire safety
Call to Action for Families: Home Fire Drill Day
A home fire is reported every 86 seconds. Despite this threat, families rarely practice home fire drills, and nearly half of parents report their children do not know what to do in the event of a fire.
Home Fire Drill Day, a safety observance developed by Nationwide in partnership with NSC and other organizations, will be held at the end of Fire Prevention Week, on Oct. 14, 2017. Families are encouraged to practice home fire drills and take advantage of tools and resources offered at
- Step-by-step instructions for doing a home fire drill
- Games to make the experience memorable for kids
- Worksheet to help you draw a floor plan of your home
- Video of a fire drill in action
- Family pledge to practice a home fire drill twice a year
- Downloadable fire safety resources to share with friends and family
- Link to download the free Make Safe Happen mobile app that puts home fire drill instructions, including a drill timer, in the palm of your hand
To participate in Home Fire Drill Day, practice as a family, take the pledge and encourage others to take the pledge. And be sure to spread the word on social media using #homefiredrillday.
Leading Causes of Fire
Over the past several decades, deaths from home structure fires in the United States have steadily gone down – from 5,200 in 1980 to 2,646 in 2015, according to
Injury Facts 2017®.
But even one death from a preventable fire is too many. While fire doesn't discriminate by age, it is the third leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14. In 2015, 232 children in this age group died from fire and smoke inhalation.
Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and fire injuries, followed by heating equipment, according to NFPA. Other causes include smoking, electrical problems, children playing with fire and candles.
What You Can Do
NSC provides the following tips to keep your home safe from fire:
both types of smoke alarms (ionization and photoelectric) and carbon monoxide alarms; change the batteries at least once a year in these devices
Plan – and practice – an escape route and agree on a meeting place outside of your home; be prepared to assist young children, family members with special needs and pets
Know two ways out of every room in the home
- Learn how to use your fire extinguisher
- If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll
- When evacuating, if door handles are hot, pick an alternate route
- Leave your house and call for help; do not go back to help someone else
U.S. Fire Administration offers these additional tips to keep children safe from fire and burns:
- Keep children 3 feet away from anything hot, like candles, space heaters and stove-tops
- Keep smoking materials locked up in a high place; never leave cigarette lighters or matches where children can reach them
- Never play with lighters or matches when you are with your children; they may try to imitate you