Today’s home fires burn faster than ever.

In a typical home fire, one may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Knowing how to use that time wisely takes planning and practice.

The National Fire Protection Association has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week™ for more than 90 years. This week is the time when fire prevention gains additional attention, as officials focus on the importance of awareness and education.

The Redwood Falls Fire Department is participating in Fire Prevention Week™ by doing a variety of events, which will culminate with its annual open house. The event is being held this coming Thursday (Oct. 11) at the fire hall from 5-7 p.m.

The open house includes a smoke room, door prizes for the kids, a visit by North Air Care and North Ambulance, as well as refreshments. The public is encouraged to attend.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere™,” which works to educate the public about basic but essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire.

NFPA statistics show that the number of U.S. home fires has been steadily declining over the past few decades. However, the death rate per 1,000 home fires that are reported to fire departments was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980. 

“These numbers show that while we’ve made significant progress in teaching people how to prevent fires from happening, there’s still much more work to do in terms of educating the public about how to protect themselves in the event of one,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice-president of Out-reach and Advocacy. “This is particularly critical given the increased speed at which today’s home fires grow and spread.”

Carli also noted that although people feel safest in their home, it is also the place people are at greatest risk to fire, with four out of five U.S. fire deaths occurring at home. That over-confidence contributes to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice.

This year’s campaign highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire:

• Look for places fire could start.

• Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.

• Learn two ways out of every room.

For more information about fire prevention and home escape planning, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.