Time to practice fire escape plan Published Sept. 26, 2007 By Fire Prevention Office 36th Civil Engineer Squadron ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- "Practice Your Escape Plan" is the theme of Fire Prevention Week, observed Oct. 7 through 13. This week is a time to reemphasize the importance of fire safety in the home and make sure everyone knows what to do when smoke alarms go off. There are three areas to focus on when creating a home escape plan. The first is to sit down and talk with everyone about the best ways to get out quickly in the event of a fire. The second step is to draw a floor plan of the home to show two ways to get out of each room. Post this escape plan in a visible area, such as the refrigerator where everyone can see it. The third step is to agree on a meeting place outside and away from the building where everyone can gather after escaping the fire. This ensures everyone is safe and accounted for. It is also important to practice the escape plan. According to a poll conducted for the National Fire Protection Association, the majority of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, but most have not practiced it. To practice the escape plan, send everyone to his or her sleeping area and sound the smoke alarm, which should be located in every sleeping room and on every floor. Close off some exits and pretend that they are blocked by smoke or flame. Remember that a fire at night will be dark and smoke accumulates at the top half of the room, so crawling on hands and knees with the lights off is good practice. This type of drill should be practiced every six months. Some other steps to improve fire safety around the home are to ensure everyone in the residence knows 911 is the emergency phone number and to inform the dispatcher that they are calling from Andersen. It is vital that everybody is familiar with how to open windows covered with storm shutters from the inside. You also want your street address number to be clear and visible from the road. Remember to test smoke alarms once a month and replace the batteries once a year. Being prepared for a fire in the home will increase the odds of survival for you and your family and will reduce injuries involved in the escape.