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FOR RELEASE: September 25 , 2007
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Practice Your Escape Plan
October 7- 13 is Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week is October 7 - 13 and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is joining forces with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind Oklahomans to “Practice Your Escape Plan.” During this year's fire safety campaign, firefighters and safety advocates will be spreading the word about the dangers of home fires and teaching local residents how to plan and practice escape from a home in case a fire occurs.

According to the latest NFPA research, 3,030 people died in 2005 in home fires – about eight people every day. In 2005 in Oklahoma, 92 people lost their lives in a house fire. Being alerted to a fire and knowing what to do to escape from one are extremely important, yet only 23 percent of households have planned and practiced a home fire escape plan, say health officials.

"Many times when we speak to residents who have experienced a fire in their home, they recall becoming confused and disoriented by the conditions and severity of the situation, but they realized they needed to get out fast,” said OSDH Injury Prevention Service Chief Shelli Stephens-Stidham. "Sometimes there are only seconds to escape, but there’s no question that having a plan in place that has been practiced saves precious time and makes survival more likely. We hope that Fire Prevention Week will prompt Oklahomans to plan and practice their escape.”

The OSDH offers the following tips to help Oklahomans be prepared for a residential fire:

  • Install working smoke alarms on every level and inside and outside of each sleeping area.
  • Develop a fire escape plan that identifies two ways out of each room and a family meeting place outside.
  • Make sure the fire escape plan allows for any specific needs in the household, including helping infants, young children and persons who are physically impaired escape.
  • Practice using the plan at least twice a year.
  • Some studies have shown that some children and adults may not awaken to the sound of a smoke alarm; they may need help waking up.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, go to the closest exit. If you run into smoke, turn and use another way out. If you must exit through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit.
  • Don’t take time to pick up belongings; just get out and help others get out. Move fast but stay calm.
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly.

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