Officials stress the importance of an escape plan during fires

Creating and practicing a fire escape plan can mean the difference between life and death.
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 8:40 AM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - This month is National Preparedness Month in Nebraska and serves as a reminder to Nebraskans to prepare for emergencies and disasters.

One common disaster to prepare for is house fires and being informed on what to do can be life-saving for you and your loved ones.

In order to prevent fires in and around your home, Grand Island Fire Chief Cory Schmidt recommends making sure your furnaces and heaters are kept away from items that can burn and making sure your appliances are in working order, but the most important preventative action you can take is having working smoke detectors in your home.

”The real key is just knowing how old your smoke alarm is, make sure it functions, test it once a month, make sure you maintain those smoke alarms and always have in mind an escape plan,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt also recommends to make an escape plan for your family, practice it with your kids whenever you can and also having a meeting place after you escape your home, so you know where everyone is and that they’re out of the house.

”One of the worst things that can happen is if everyone gets out of the home safely and they don’t meet in the same spot and someone thinks one of the family members is still inside and they go back inside when in fact that family member may be at the neighbors or someplace different, it puts everyone in danger,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt also says, sleeping with your bedroom door closed can save your life in the event of a fire because it will keep smoke and toxins out of the bedroom where you’re sleeping and if you have working smoke alarms in your house, you’ll have a chance to escape.

During Preparedness Month, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency also suggests that families pack an emergency kit in the event of a disaster.