By Marjorie Nesin Staff Writer
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — ESSEX — Monday may be the Columbus Day holiday, but it also marks the beginning of National Fire Prevention Week.
If the whole family is home, it might be a good time to plan an escape route and meeting place in case of a fire, say Essex firefighters.
Then, on Thursday, residents can get some tips on their plan while sharing pizza with firefighters when the Essex Fire Department hosts an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. at Memorial Fire Station on Martin Street.
The event will feature fire education information, fire apparatus and equipment displays, and pizza provided by Cape Ann Pizza. The Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Prevention Association to promote the “Two Ways Out!” message, focusing on the importance of fire escape planning with two escape routes and practice.
Fire Chief Daniel Doucette said many people surveyed estimate they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. But, he said, unfortunately the time available is often less.
“Fire is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize,” said Doucette. “Having a tried and true escape plan with two ways is essential to ensuring your family’s safety should fire break out in your home.”
The Essex Fire Department recommends the following tips for children helping plan the 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.
Write the emergency telephone number for the Fire Department on your escape plan.
Have a grown-up sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in your home.
Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and remind grown-ups to have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.