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October 9, 2012
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Have two ways out in case of fire

To all of Snowmass Village,

It's 3 a.m. You and your family are sound asleep and awake to the beeping smoke alarm. You are tired and confused from the effects of the smoke. You know you need to get to safety, but when you head for the front door, you find that escape route is blocked by fire that is spreading by the second. What do you do?

While this scenario is one I hope you never have to encounter, the statistics tell us that many people do every day. According to the National Fire Protection Association, one home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds in 2010. That added up to 369,500 home structure fires, which caused 13,350 injuries and 2,640 deaths.

The numbers are scary, but there is something you can do to help ensure your family's safety should a fire break out in your home: Have two ways out! The Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District's Fire Department is teaming up with NFPA during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13, to urge residents to "Have Two Ways Out!" This year's theme focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.

Only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. And of the three-quarters of Americans who do have an escape plan, less than half actually practiced it. Seconds and minutes can mean the difference between life and death. We want to ensure that all Snowmass Village residents know what to do if a fire breaks out in their home. Preparation is an important part of being able to deal with an emergency, and it is crucial you take steps to prepare your family for the potential of a home fire by having an escape plan and practicing it.

Although preparing for the unexpected is difficult, reviewing the information below and taking action based on it to plan for a fire could save lives. If you have children, please make this a family activity. We recommend the following 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.

• Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan. Make sure children know how to dial 911 for emergency help.

• Sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape drill with everyone living in your home.

• Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and practice the drill twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.

If your family is all adults:

• Walk through your home and identify two ways out of each room.

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

• Make sure everyone knows the emergency number for your local fire department.

• Practice your escape drill twice a year.

Your Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District firefighters will be hosting activities this week at the Snowmass Center in Snowmass Village on Oct. 8, 10 and 12 (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. during Fire Prevention Week to promote "Have Two Ways Out!" We also will be featuring "TAKE TEN" chest compression-only CPR (CCR) classes. Take 10 minutes and learn a life-saving technique for adult heart attacks. Please stop by and take this simple instruction.

We advise that you make time this month to check the fire safety devices in your home. Look at your fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms and secondary exit routes and take steps to correct any deficiencies. Make it a priority. We will be happy to come to your home and help with a free home safety inspection. Please call us at 970-923-2212 to arrange a visit.

John T. Mele

Fire Marshal / Deputy Chief

Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District

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The Aspen Times Updated Oct 9, 2012 03:30PM Published Oct 9, 2012 03:28PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.