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Des Moines, Iowa 50319
www.dps.state.ia.us

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Monday, October 8, 2012

amurphy@dps.state.ia.us
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office

State Fire Marshal Urges Residents to “Have Two Ways Out!” During Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13

Des Moines, IOWA --- If you woke up to a fire in your home, how much time do you think you would have to get to safety?  According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one-third of American households, when surveyed, estimated they would have at least six minutes before a fire in their home becomes life threatening. Unfortunately, the time available is often much less. That’s why the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office is teaming up with NFPA during Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, 2012, to urge residents to “Have Two Ways Out!” This year’s theme focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.

In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage.

"During 2011 within the US, one home structure fire was reported every 23 seconds,” says State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds.  “Fire is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize.  Having a tried and true escape plan with two ways out is essential to ensuring your family’s safety should fire break out in your home.” 

The State Fire Marshal office recommends the following tips for planning your family’s escape:

  • Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.
  • Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they’ve escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.
  • Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan.
  • Have a grown-up sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in your home.
  • Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and remind grown-ups to have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.
  • Be sure your children know their home address.

Many Iowa fire departments will be hosting activities during Fire Prevention Week to promote this year's theme: “Have Two Ways Out!” Through these educational, family-oriented activities, residents can learn more about the importance of fire escape planning and practice, as well as the power of prevention.

To learn more about “Have Two Ways Out!” visit NFPA’s Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org.

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