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National Fire Prevention Week Oct. 8-14

  • 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 here.

    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, including:

    • 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:

    • Install 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

    The 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

How Severe is the Burn?

The Centers for Disease Control reports there are three types of burns:

  • First-degree only affects the top layer of skin
  • Second-degree destroys top layer of skin and partially damages the second layer
  • Third-degree burns affect the inner-most layer of skin

If you don't know how severe a burn is, call 911 or seek medical treatment. Click here for more information on first-aid for burns.

  • Treat Burns

    Did you know you're not supposed to use ice, butter or ointments when treating burns? Learn how to treat all types of burns.

  • Fire Safety Tips

    A small house fire can rage out of control in minutes. Learn how to prevent a fire – and how to survive one.

  • Home Fire Safety Checklist

    Frayed cords, overloaded outlets, space heaters and many other problems can cause a fire. Use this checklist to keep your home fire-proof.


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The National Safety Council eliminates preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

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