In case of emergency: Fire Department says to plan escape route

The Shelton Fire Department, consisting of members of Echo Hose, Huntington, Pine Rock Park, and White Hills volunteer fire companies are now visiting schools and involved in other fire safety activities through early October.

These programs are part of an effort to reduce the chances of residents being injured or killed by fire in addition to preserving property.

To encourage families to prioritize fire escape planning and practice their plan, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is promoting "Have Two Ways Out!" as the theme for this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign.

In an effort to better educate everyone about fire safety, the Shelton Fire Department encourages every home to have a fire escape plan that prepares families to think fast and get out quickly when the smoke alarm sounds. Ted Pisciotta, Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention, said that if one exit is blocked by smoke, it's imperative to plan for another escape outlet. Use these tips for planning your family's escape:

• Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.

• Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they've escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.

• Review calling 911 to report a fire from outside of the home.

• Have a grown-up sound a smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in

your home.

• Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator, or anywhere prominent for all to see, and remind grown-ups to have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.

In conjunction with having an escape plan, working smoke alarms throughout the entire home will be necessary to alert everyone, especially when asleep, to escape quickly.

Follow these tips for making sure smoke alarms are maintained and working properly:

• Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button, and make sure everyone in your home knows their sound.

• If an alarm "chirps," warning the battery is low, replace the battery

right away.

• Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hardwired alarms, when they're 10 years old (or sooner) if they do not respond properly when tested.

• Never remove or disable a smoke alarm.

Chief Pisciotta encourages businesses, organizations, and individuals throughout the city to visit the Fire Prevention Bureau web site, which may be found by clicking on "Public Safety" at Easy to print and post fire safety tips are available. In addition, information may be copied and pasted by visitors into newsletters, etc.

The Fire Department will be spreading the safety message this Sunday, Oct. 7 at Shelton Day, with activities and information available.