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Metro Newsroom

Mayor and Firefighters Encourage Families to Practice Fire Drills

Tuesday October 9, 2007

Mayor Jerry Abramson and local fire chiefs today encouraged families to design and practice fire escape plans as part of National Fire Prevention Week, which runs from Oct. 7 to Oct. 14. This year’s theme is “Practice Your Escape”.

“Knowing what do in the event of a fire can save your life,” said Abramson. “Creating and practicing a home escape plan can help your family escape a tragedy.”

Last year, firefighters fought nearly 2,000 structure fires in Louisville. Nine people died as a result of those fires. The National Fire Prevention Association reported that in 2006, 80 percent of all fire deaths were caused by home fires. Nationally, roughly 2,600 people were killed by home fires last year and 12,500 were injured.

“We want to get families prepared for how to handle a fire in their homes,” said Louisville Fire Chief Greg Frederick. “We hope sharing this information with the public during National Fire Prevention Week will reduce the numbers of fires and injuries in our city.”

Louisville firefighters will kick off Fire Prevention Week on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Abramson, Frederick, and several suburban fire chiefs will lay a wreath at the firefighter memorial in Jefferson Square at 10:30 a.m. After the ceremony, city and suburban firefighters will meet the mayor and fire chiefs at the National City Plaza, located at Fifth and Market streets, where they’ll give away information on fire safety and serve free chili.

On Sunday, Oct. 14, firefighters invite families to celebrate the 24th annual Great Louisville Fire Drill from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Waterfront Park. Visitors can enjoy free food, live entertainment, and fire prevention education. Free parking is available at the garage on Witherspoon St. Families are encouraged to practice their own escape drill on Oct. 14.

“It’s never too early to start talking to your kids about fire safety and how to get out of the house if there’s a fire,” said Paul Barth, chief of McMahan Fire District. “During Fire Prevention Week, we’re looking forward to helping families develop their own escape plans to keep everyone safe.”

Tips to “Practice Your Escape”

· Draw a floor plan of your home, marking all the exits. Get each family member to explain the different escape routes from each room.

· Make sure your plan allows for anyone with special needs in your household.

· Choose a designated meeting place outside your home where every member of the household will gather after the drill.

· Make sure everyone in the household can unlock all doors and windows quickly -- even in the dark.

· Studies have shown that some children and adults may not wake to the sound of a smoke alarm; they may need help waking up.

· If the smoke alarm sounds, go to your closest exit. If there is smoke on your way out, turn and use your second escape route. If you must exit through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit.

· Don’t take time to pick up belongings; get out and stay out. Move fast, but stay calm.

· If you live in a two-story house and you must escape from the second-story window, be sure there is a safe way to reach the ground. You may purchase rope ladders to toss from second-story windows.

· Practice your plan at least twice a year.

Tips to Prevent House Fires

· Make sure you have operating smoke alarms in your home. Having them will alert you to the early detection of smoke and fire. Check the batteries twice a year.

· Keep matches and lighters up and away from children.

· Never leave candles or cigarettes unattended.

· Don’t leave food cooking on a stovetop unattended.

· Ask smokers to smoke outside.

· Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn.