OSEA Safety Blog

Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 Michele Pratt

Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out

This year’s Fire Prevention week will be observed from October 8th-October 14th. Fire Prevention week was first proclaimed in 1925 from President Calvin Coolidge. The date correlates with the commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire which began October 8, 1971. How did the fire start? There are several theories including Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicking over a lamp, careless smoking from some neighborhood boys seen near the barn and even a meteorite that may have fallen to the earth. This devastating fire killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed over 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.

This year the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) has a theme of “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” The good news is that nearly three quarters of Americans have a fire escape route planned. The not so good news is that less than half of the people have practiced their plan. We work with clients regularly to assist with development of an Emergency Evacuation Plan. Developing the plan involves employee participation with worst case scenarios, development of a map, evacuation routes, policies and procedures. What is the method for notifying police or fire and how do you signal to evacuate if necessary? How many gathering areas are there and how do you communicate if one area is blocked? If you don’t have the time to collect your personal belongings and exit safely, error on the side of caution and leave as quickly and orderly as you can. Practicing will help reinforce the correct way of evacuation. You can incorporate these methods into your work or home to stay safe in case of a fire or other emergency.

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