Three times a month Eckville fire fighter volunteers practice to keep themselves prepared for emergencies. Photo by Myra Nicks/Eckville Echo

Three times a month Eckville fire fighter volunteers practice to keep themselves prepared for emergencies. Photo by Myra Nicks/Eckville Echo

You and your family are fast asleep when the smoke alarm sounds:

Do you know what to do?

When a fire is raging, every second counts in getting to safety. The theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week, “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out!” shares this message and encourages the public to come up with home escape plans.

By the time a smoke alarm sounds in a typical home fire, you typically have as little as one to two minutes to get out of your home safely. Stuart Carde, local fire chief for Eckville says it’s even shorter than that in newer buildings.

“The building materials are more flammable now,” he said. With such a small window of time to work with, having an escape plan is important.

The Eckville Fire Department keeps themselves prepared for emergencies by meeting three times a month at the fire hall to practice. The team is currently 18 strong with 15 having level one fire fighting training, eight at level two and the rest with five plus years of training.

“We’re always looking for more volunteers,” Carde said.

This year the fire department has answered 44 calls with nine of those calls being during the big wind storm back in June.

“We put in over 110 man hours that night dealing with downed power lines,” Carde said.

Carde encourages all Eckville households to develop an escape plan with two potential exits. A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, usually a door and a window, with a path to safe outside meeting place

NFPA and the Eckville Fire Department offer these additional tips and recommendations for developing and practicing a home escape plan:

Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two hits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.

Practice our home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.

Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them out.

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

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

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

To learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out!” and home escape planning, visit www.firepreventionweek.org