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Fire Dept. Emphasizes Safety Awareness for Fire Prevention Week

Fire Dept. Emphasizes Safety Awareness for Fire Prevention Week

The Palo Alto Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) ­to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere™.” The goal is to educate the public about basic and essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire. Fire Prevention Week takes place Oct. 7-13.

While NFPA statistics show that the number of U.S. home fires has been steadily declining over the past few decades, the death rate per 1000 home fires reported to fire departments was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980. Since home fires burn faster than ever, people may have as little as one to two minutes to safely escape from the time a smoke alarm sounds. Knowing how to use that brief time wisely takes planning and practice.

“These numbers show that while we’ve made significant progress in teaching people how to prevent fires, there’s still much more work to do in terms of educating the public about how to protect themselves in the event of a fire,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “This is particularly critical given the increased speed at which today’s home fires grow and spread.”

People feel safest in their home, but it is also the place people are at greatest risk to fire, with four out of five U.S. fire deaths occurring at home. That over-confidence contributes to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice.

“Working in the fire service for 31 years, we know that people often make choices in fire situations that jeopardize their safety or even cost them their lives,” said Fire Chief Eric Nickel of the Palo Alto Fire Department. “We need to do a better job of teaching people about the difference escape planning and practice can make.”

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme highlights three steps people can take to quickly and safely escape a fire:

  • Look for places fire could start.
  • Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.
  • Learn two ways out of every room.

“Situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go,” said Chief Nickel. “No matter where you are, look for at least two exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately.”

The Palo Alto Fire Department is hosting a series of events in support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week including visits to local elementary schools and open house events at our fire stations.

Tuesday, October 9Greendell School, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Fire safety talk on this year’s theme to elementary aged children at local school near fire station. Public education materials will be handed out in the form of “goody bags”. 

Wednesday, October 10Walter Hays Elementary, 10-11 a.m. Fire safety talk on this year’s theme to elementary aged children at local school near fire station. Public education materials will be handed out in the form of “goody bags”.

Thursday, October 11City Hall Community Meeting Room, 12-2 p.m. Fire prevention and educational talk to City employees and employees of the downtown area in relation to this year’s theme. Public education materials will be handed out and a raffle will be drawn with prizes of fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. 

Friday, October 12Duveneck Elementary, 10-11 a.m. Fire safety talk on this year’s theme to elementary aged children at local school near fire station. Public education materials will be handed out in the form of “goody bags” from NFPA with theme related materials.  

Saturday, October 13Fire Station 5 Open House, 12-5 p.m., 600 Arastradero Road

For more information about Fire Prevention Week and home escape planning, visit: www.firepreventionweek.org

Last Updated: September 17, 2018