Fire Prevention Week: “Every Second Counts, Plan 2 Ways Out”

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Wichita Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association for Fire Prevention Week — a nationwide effort to remind residents to be prepared with an escape plan.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out.”

According to fire officials, every second counts during a fire — it’s the difference between escaping and dying.

“When a fire occurs, it’s too late then to figure out what to happen,” said Wichita Fire Marshal Stuart Bevis. “We want people to be prepared.”

During Fire Prevention Week, the Wichita Fire Department wants to remind residents to be prepared with an escape plan and to practice it with family members.

“When you’re in a panic mode, you rely back to the things you’ve practiced, that you know really well,” Bevis said. “You go back to everything you’ve practiced and then you realize what you’re supposed to do when this thing occurs.”

According to Bevis, fires can double in size about every 30 seconds. In newer homes, the intensity of the fire, heat, smoke and toxic vapors can become critical fast.

Bevis said in less than two minutes, the house can be completely destroyed and an individual could not survive in that house.

Here are ways to prepare an escape plan:

  • Draw a map of home: Identify places that you and your family members can get out of. Choose two exits from each room, and find a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice: Fire officials said it’s good to practice one during the day and one at night. Practice using different ways out.
  • Get in the habit of closing doors when leaving: This can slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
  • Smoke alarms: Make sure you have smoke alarms outside or inside every sleeping room, and make sure the alarms are working.

As part of the department’s prevention efforts, there are several activities planned this week.

Monday, Oct. 9 – School Fire Drills
Unannounced fire drills conducted by Fire Prevention staff and Fire Crews at 15 Wichita area schools. Drills will start at 8:30 a.m. and continue throughout the day until approximately 3 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 10 – 5th Grade Fire Prevention Zoo Adventure
In cooperation with area fire departments and injury prevention coalitions and agencies, area fifth grade students and teachers will have the opportunity to interact with firefighters, practice fire safety measures and view fire equipment while enjoying the Sedgwick County Zoo. This event is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 11 – Fun “N” Learning at the North YMCA
Area grade schools, home schools and special needs children are invited to attend this outdoor event where they have the opportunity to interact with the Wichita Fire Department and area injury-prevention coalition partners. Youth will be able to experience the department’s Mobile Prevention Experience Unit, enjoy a puppet show, try on firefighter gear and get an up-close view of fire apparatus. Partners in the event include WPD, Safe Kids, WESTAR and the Kansas Highway Patrol. This event is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Branch YMCA, 3330 N. Woodlawn.

Thursday, Oct. 12 – Mobile Prevention Experience
A fire prevention caravan dedicated to child safety in the home, the special “smoke house” will be taken to area schools to instill the importance of smoke alarms in the home and having a fire escape plan. Programs are scheduled to start at 9 a.m., with stops at two Wichita area schools.

Friday, Oct. 13 – Smoke Alarm Blitz
Do you need a smoke alarm or know someone who does? Wichita Firefighters will be out installing free smoke alarms and/or batteries for people who are in need. Carbon Monoxide detectors are also available. Please call (316) 268-4441 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday to schedule an appointment.

Saturday, Oct. 14 – Visit Your Neighborhood Fire Station
Residents are always welcomed to stop in to their neighborhood fire station to meet local firefighters and take a tour of the fire department’s apparatus. See the Fire Department page for station locations.

WATCH: KSN’s Amanda Aguilar escapes “house fire” inside the Wichita Fire Department’s Mobile Prevention Experience unit.