The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), along with the Grand Island Fire Department, is promoting this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign: “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!”

Fire Prevention Week is officially Oct. 6-12, but members of the Grand Island Fire Department will be visiting local elementary schools during the entire month of October to educate students about the need to create and practice a home fire safety plan.

NFPA statistics show that in 2017, U.S. fire departments responded to 357,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,630 deaths and 10,600 injuries. On average, seven people died per day because of a fire in a home during 2012 to 2016. In a typical home fire, occupants may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds, so pre-planning is extremely important.

During the month of October, the Grand Island Fire Department will provide a grade-specific safety message to local elementary school students. The Grand Island Fire Department is seeking elementary-aged students to help ensure their household members are better prepared in the event of a home fire. Specifically, third-grade students will work with family members to create a home escape plan. Escape plans should:

— Identify two exits from every room and a path from each exit to the outside.

— Show the locations of all smoke alarms in the home. There should be at least one on each level, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas.

— Name a meeting place outside in front of the home where everyone will meet upon exiting.

In addition to creating a home escape plan, students should practice the plan with all members of the household at least twice a year. It is also crucial to make sure everyone knows how to call 911 from a mobile phone or neighbor’s phone once they are safely outside.

Grand Island Fire Chief Cory Schmidt said, “People are at the most risk of dying from a fire while they are in their home, the place where they may mistakenly feel the most secure. The Grand Island Fire Department is working together with our local elementary-aged heroes to educate residents on the importance of creating and practicing a fire escape plan before a fire occurs.”

NFPA and the Grand Island Fire Department offer these additional fire safety tips:

— Practice the home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with all family members and practice using different ways out.

— Push the smoke alarm button to start a fire escape drill so children will associate the audible alarm with the need to evacuate their home.

— Teach children how to escape on their own in case adults are not available to help them.

— Close doors behind you — this may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.

— Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

— Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.

— Test smoke alarms at least twice a month. A working smoke alarm cuts the risk of dying in a home fire in half.

— Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years old or older.

For more information on the 2019 Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” visit

For more information on how to do this or about Fire Prevention Week, find the department at or, online at, or call (308) 385-5444, ext. 220.

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