Burn Institute urges residents to prepare before a home fire strikes

SAN DIEGO – National safety statistics show that in 2015 there were 365,500 home fires resulting in 2,650 deaths and $7 billion in property damages. To protect lives and property, the Burn Institute urges residents to prepare for a home fire before it strikes.

One of the best ways to improve the chances of surviving a residential fire is to ensure that a home is equipped with operating smoke alarms. Having a working smoke alarm in a home reduces the chances of perishing in a house fire by 50 percent. They should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every floor of the home.

“In a fire, seconds count,” Susan Day, Burn Institute executive director, said. “Roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving residents enough time to get out.”

Another invaluable fire safety tool each household should have is a fire escape plan. It can take less than two minutes for toxic fumes to overcome a child or an adult and knowing the most direct route out of a home can help save lives.

To create an escape plan, identify two ways out of every room in the home and know the most direct route to outside. Set a designated meeting place that is a safe distance from the residence and is stationary, such as the light pole or mailbox. Once a person escapes out of the house, they should stay out.

After creating an escape plan, it should be practiced with all members of the family at least once a year. The Burn Institute offers free fire escape planning guidelines and grids at www.burninstitute.org.

The organization also provides free smoke alarms and installations to seniors, who are at a higher risk of perishing in a home fire. To qualify for this lifesaving program, a resident must be 62 years or older and own their own home. To sign up for an installation or check for eligibility, call the Burn Institute at (858) 541-2277, ext. 18.

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