Massachusetts Call Volunteer Firefighters Association Encourages Families to Practice Home Fire Drills

Massachusetts Call Volunteer Firefighters Association
Kevin Connolly, President

For Immediate Release

Friday, Oct. 11, 2019

Media Contact: Jordan Mayblum
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Massachusetts Call Volunteer Firefighters Association Encourages Families to Practice Home Fire Drills

HADLEY — The Massachusetts Call Volunteer Firefighters Association (MCVFA) would like to remind residents to plan and practice a home escape plan and ensure everyone in their household knows the appropriate actions to take in the event of a fire.

As part of National Fire Prevention Week, homeowners are encouraged to not only prepare a home escape plan, but to practice the plan as if it were a real-life fire emergency.

According to Ready, the national emergency preparedness campaign by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a small flame can turn into a major fire in less than 30 seconds, and it only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames, which makes being able to get out as fast as possible even more important.

Ready recommends practicing your home fire escape plan at least twice per year. To hold a home fire drill, push the smoke alarm button and have everyone use their escape routes to get quickly to your family’s agreed upon meeting place.

“The goal of holding a home fire drill is to make sure everyone knows how to get out of the house and can do so quickly,” MCVFA President Kevin Connolly said. “While kids do fire drills in school, many families don’t practice getting out of their house. Practicing an exit plan enough for it to become second nature can very well save a life if a fire occurs.”

MCVFA recommends the following tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to put your home escape plan to the test:

  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  • Hold one family fire drill during the day when everyone is awake and a second drill at night when children are asleep to see how they will respond. It’s important to determine during the drill whether children and others will be woken up by the sound of the smoke alarm. If they fail to wake up, make sure someone is assigned to wake them up as part of the drill and in a real emergency situation.
  • Always choose the escape route that is safest – the one with the least amount of smoke and heat – but be prepared to escape under smoke if necessary. Everyone in the family should practice getting low and going under the smoke to your exit.
  • Make sure everyone in your household can open all doors and windows. Everyone should know to check the door for heat with the back of their hand. If the door feels cool, open it slowly. Do not open a hot door.
  • Close doors on the way out. Closing doors slows the spread of fire, giving you more time to safely escape.
  • Make sure everyone goes to your meeting place during the fire drill.
  • In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your home. To prepare for an emergency like this, practice “sealing yourself in for safety” as part of your home fire escape plan. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover air vents to keep smoke from coming in. Call the fire department to report your exact location. Wave a flashlight or light-colored cloth at the window to let firefighters know where you are located.

After a drill, make any necessary adjustments to your plan. Make sure your family knows that in a real fire they should call 911 from outside and once they get out, they need to stay out.