State fire marshal encourages education, two ways out during Fire Prevention Week

Staff Writer
Chillicothe Times-Bulletin

SPRINGFIELD – The Office of Illinois State Fire Marshal marking National Fire Safety Week to educate families on the importance of fire protection.  

This year’s theme, “Have Two Ways Out” aims to educate families on how to establish a fire escape plan that includes two ways out of every room in the home.  

 “Having a fire escape plan should be a priority for every family.  The plan should include two ways out of every room in the house,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis. “Everyone in the household should be trained on how to escape the home within the first three minutes after the sound of a smoke alarm.”  

A “two ways out” plan should also include overnight guests and visiting friends or family members. Families should assign an outside meeting place during a fire emergency and instruct members not to go back inside the house.

Special attention should be paid to infants and toddlers as they cannot help themselves during an emergency. An adult family member should be assigned to immediately assist infants and children under the age of 5 at the sound of a smoke alarm.  

During a fire emergency, children should be taught to never hide in closets, under the bed or a table. School age children should be encouraged by parents to participate in fire drills in their schools and share with family members what they learned from the experience.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, every 80 seconds fire departments respond to a house fire in United States. In 2011, fire departments in United States responded to 1,389,500 fires, including 369,000 house fires. More than 3,005 people died in fires in 2011 and 2,520 of those fatalities were reported in house fires.  

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