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The Coppell Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) ‑‑ the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week ‑‑ to promote this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign, "Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!", which educates families about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.
NFPA statistics show that in 2017 U.S. fire departments responded to 357,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,630 fire deaths and 10,600 fire injuries. On average, seven people died in a fire in a home per day during 2012 to 2016.
"These numbers show that home fires continue to pose a significant threat to safety," said Lorraine Carli, NFPA's vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. "In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.
Carli also notes that although people feel safest in their home, it is also the place people are at greatest risk to fire, with four out of five U.S. fire deaths occurring at home. That over-confidence contributes to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice.
"Working in the fire service for many years, we know that people often make choices in fire situations that jeopardize their safety or even cost them their lives," said Coppell Fire Chief Kevin Richardson. "We need to do a better job of educating people about the potentially life-saving difference fire escape planning and practice can make and motivating them into action. I encourage residents to be the hero in their own home by making a fire escape plan and practicing that plan at least once a year."
While NFPA and the Coppell Fire Department are focusing on home fires, these messages apply to virtually anywhere.
"Situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go," said Chief Richardson. "No matter where you are, look for available exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately."
For more information about Fire Prevention Week and home escape planning, visit www.fpw.org.