Thursday, September 1, 2011

FYI: National Preparedness Month - Emergency Preparedness

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Focus on Fire Safety: Emergency Preparedness

Disaster preparedness became a renewed priority for our Nation as a direct response to 
the devastation of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Following the tragedies 
of that day, government at all levels has worked more closely with civic and private sector
organizations and the public to prepare for emergencies. Americans need to become fully
aware, trained, and practiced on how to respond to potential threats and hazards.
Preparedness starts with YOU! Everyone should:
  1. Have an emergency supply kit.
  2. Make a family escape plan.
  3. Be informed about the types of emergencies 
Each person's needs and abilities are unique but every individual can take important 
steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies – including fire emergencies - and put plans in place.

Prepare for a Fire Emergency

In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn 
into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke
and become engulfed in flames. By preparing for a fire emergency, you can greatly
reduce your chances of becoming a fire casualty.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement.
  • Test your smoke alarms once a month and change the batteries at least once a year.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 8-10 years or as the manufacturer guidelines recommend.
  • Plan your escape from fire. The best plans have two ways to get out of each room.
  • Practice fire escape plans several times a year. Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
  • Purchase only collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
  • Check that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly, and that security bars can be properly opened.
  • Make sure everyone in your family understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked or barred doors and windows.
  • Consider installing residential fire sprinklers in your home.
Contact your local fire department on a non-emergency phone number if you need help or have questions about fire safety in your home.

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