News Release

Fire Escape Plans Critical To Ensuring Safety

Smoke Alarms, Advance Planning, Practice Keys to Survival

If a fire broke out tonite in your home, would you and your family know what to do?  How to get out of your home and where to meet?  What about your place of business or office?

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 3,300 Americans died and more than 16,000 were injured in fires during 2009.  The vast majority of civilian deaths (84%) occurred in residences.  "Many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented had the victims maintained working smoke detectors and practiced an escape plan," said Falcon Fire Department Battalion Chief Vernon Champlin.  "The Falcon Fire Department has a public education program to help residents and business owners develop escape plans for their homes and buildings."

The fire department's education program is available to individual homeowners, to commercial developers and business owners, and to local schools and civic organizations.  "We promote the importance of exiting your house or building safely,"  said Firefighter and Community Education Coordinator Matt Gibbs.  The Falcon Fire Department has an aggressive public safety education program that in the end benefits both residents and firefighters.

In an effort to help ensure the safety of businesses in the Falcon Fire District, firefighters now have mobile data computers mounted in response vehicles.  "In the future, these computers will be loaded with information including building layouts, on-scene hazards and water sources for many commercial properties in Falcon," said Battalion Chief Champlin.  "The information benefits firefighters performing emergency operations, as well as contributing to the safety of firefighter and occupants alike."

Falcon's mixed rural and urban nature makes it equally important to have escape routes in place for wildland fires.  "We work closely with residents to assess the potential for high risk threats due to shrub, tree and wildland grass overgrowth,"  said Lieutenant Wes Tulli, Fire Wise Program Coordinator.  "We think it's vital for our rural residents to be "fire wise" and to have escape plans in place for their family and animals."  Additional mitigation information for homes in rural or forested areas is available on the Fire Wise Communities website, www.firewise.org

Here are some fire escape tips from the U.S. Fire Administration's website www.usfa.fema.gov

  • All family members should practice escaping from every room in your home:
    • Practice escape plans every month
    • Have at least two ways to escape from each room
  • Security bars require special precautions:
    • They must have quick release devices
    • All family members should practice opening locked or barred doors and windows
  •  Never open doors that are hot to the touch
    • Use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob and the crack between the door and the door frame
    • If the door is hot, use your secondary escape route
    • Even if the door feels cool, open it carefully
  •  Designate a meeting place outside and take attendance
    • The meeting place should be away from the home or building
      • designate a tree, the end of the driveway, or the front sidewalk
    • Designate one person to go to a neighbor's house to call the fire department
  •  Once out, stay out
    • Escape first, then call 911
    • Never go back into a burning building for any reason
    • Teach children not to hide from firefighters

More information regarding fire escape plans can be obtained from the U.S. Fire Administration's website www.usfa.dhs.tgov under the "Citizen" link, as well as from www.sparky.org which caters to our younger audience.

Don't wait to develop your fire escape plan.  If you have questions, please call the Falcon Fire Protection District at 495-4050.