Local News

Fire Officials Urge Families to Plan a "Great Escape"

Posted October 6, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— No one wants to think about their home burning to the ground, but it happens to families every day.

If a fire did break out, do you have a plan to get everyone out safely? That's what the North American Fire Drill is all about.

"The Great Escape" is the theme of this year's National Fire Prevention Week, and at 6 p.m. Wednesday, alarms at fire stations across the country sounded. The drill was a signal to families to practice their home escape routes.

Every year, 5,000 Americans die in house fires, but it does not have to be that way. Fire officials say one of the best ways to keep from becoming a statistic is to plan a home escape route.

"The main thing is you don't have a lot of time in case you have a fire or an emergency. You need to have a plan so you know where to go and know that you can get out quickly," explained Raleigh Fire Capt. Jim Parker.

Fire officials say it is best to plan an escape route during the day when you can see where all your furniture and doors are.

You should also plan more than one way out, and you should have a set meeting place outside.

And it's not enough to plan your great escape. You should practice it twice a year.

"It's a whole lot better if you would go ahead and practice your escape route, and the kids will become familiar with it, and you will become familiar with it. Then if you ever need it, it's like hands-on. You've already done it. You know exactly where to go. You know exactly what to do," said Parker.

According to a recent survey, about half of Americans say they do have an escape route. However, only about 16 percent say they ever practice it with their families.