NATIONAL (WCIA) — Fire departments are observing National Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is Not every Hero Wears A Cape. Plan and Practice your Escape.
Illinois’ firefighters are traveling to schools to teach fire safety and conduct drills.
In Champaign, students at Robeson Elementary School participated in an evacuation drill Tuesday morning, as did several other public and private schools. Deputy Fire Marshal Janet Maupin said the drill helped not only students, but also teachers and firefighters.
“They have added different security over the years to the schools,” Maupin explained. “So, we’re going to make sure all our members know there’s a new set of doors inside so it’s like a double entry, which makes it really safe, but it could slow us down if we weren’t aware of that.”
Deputy Fire Marshal Robert Simmons said adults can learn lessons this week in their workplaces as well.
“People get tunnel-visioned sometimes when they’re leaving to go to school or to work or whatever,” he said. “They always go to the same door. We want people to get familiar with going maybe another way.”
The following are recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):
- Draw maps of home and identify two exit points
- Practice home fire drills twice a year; one at night, one during the day
- Teach children how to escape on their own
- Clearly mark home so it can be easily located
- Close doors as leaving to slow spread of smoke and fire
- Once outside, stay outside; never go back inside a burning building
In 2018, the Office of the State Fire Marshal said there were more than 15,500 residential fires in Illinois and 105 residential civilian deaths. Those deaths accounted for 89% percent of all fire deaths in the state last year.