Don't get burned, have two ways out

  • Published
  • By Ali Veysel Ozyesil
  • Incirlik Air Base Fire Department
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey - It's 3 a.m. You and your family are sound asleep. You're jolted awake to the sound of a blaring smoke alarm. Tired and confused from the effects of the smoke, you head for the front door and find the escape route blocked by a fire that's spreading by the second. What do you do?

While I hope you never have to encounter this scenario, statistics tell us that many people do every day. According to the National Fire Protection Association, one home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds in 2010. That adds up to 369,500 home structure fires, which caused 13,350 injuries and 2,640 deaths.

The numbers are scary, but you can help ensure your family's safety should a fire break out in your home: have two ways out.

The Incirlik Air Base Fire Department is teaming up with NFPA during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7 through 13, to urge residents to have two ways out, which is also the theme for the campaign. This year's theme focuses on the importance of planning and practice to escape a home fire.

Only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Of the three-quarters of Americans who do have an escape plan, less than half actually practice it. Fire is unpredictable; seconds and minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

Preparation is an important part of being able to deal with an emergency. It is crucial to take steps to prepare for the potential of a home fire by having an escape plan and practicing it.

Although preparing for the unexpected is difficult, reviewing the information below and taking action to plan for a fire could save lives. Incirlik's fire department recommends the following tips to develop a fire escape plan.

· Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to escape from every room.
· Choose a meeting place outside of the home. This is where everyone can meet once they've escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.
· Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan.
· Sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape drill with everyone living in your home.
· Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and practice the drill twice a year.
· Make sure even young children know to dial 911 in case of a fire.

Incirlik's fire department will host several activities, such as Sparky the Fire Dog house visits, story time at the library, and a school bus campaign during Fire Prevention Week to promote this year's theme: "Have Two Ways Out!" Through these educational, family-oriented activities, residents can learn more about the importance of fire escape planning and practice, as well as the power of prevention.

To learn more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities on Incirlik, please contact the Incirlik Fire Department at DSN 676-6251. To learn more about fire prevention, visit NFPA's web site at