"A good home escape plan starts with working smoke alarms, includes two ways out of every room, a meeting place outside, and is practiced twice a year. These are among the key fire messages firefighters have been sharing with school children through the Student Awareness of Fire Education or S.A.F.E. for the past 18 years. Public fire education has been successful in reducing the number of children who die in fires in Massachusetts; last year no one under 18 died in a building fire which we believe is a first in the state and possibly the nation," said State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan.

"Next week is national Fire Prevention Week and the theme is Have Two Ways Out," said Coan. "The theme underscores how important having and practicing a home escape plan is. Just as children have fire drills at school and learn how to respond, a home fire drill will give them the skills they will rely on in an emergency at home," he added.

Fire departments all across the state will be participating in events such as school programs and fire department open houses to share important fire prevention and fire survival information with the people in their communities.

For more information, please go to our website, www.mass.gov/dfs and click on Fire Prevention Week.

Home Escape Planning Tips

-- Develop and practice a home fire escape plan with your family.

-- Draw a floor plan of your home, locating all possible exits.

-- Keep all possible exits free of obstacles.


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-- Have two ways out of each room, the main escape route, which should be the fastest and easiest way out of your home, and a second way out like a window.

-- Choose one meeting place for your family, usually out front, where you can greet arriving firefighters.

-- Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

History of Fire Prevention Week

The National Fire Protection Association, headquartered in Quincy is the sponsor of Fire Prevention Week that was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire. The tragic 1871 conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on Oct. 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on Oct. 9, 1871. For more information or tools for teachers and firefighters and Sparky's fun webpage for kids, go to www.firepreventionweek.org.