Plan ahead

Published 1:01 am Sunday, October 2, 2011

It’s that time of year. No, we’re not talking about football season. No, we’re not talking about the North Carolina State Fair. We’re talking Fire Prevention Week, which will be observed Oct. 9-15 this year.
At some point in the coming days, an email or two will come from the Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS Department about activities related to fire prevention. Chief Robbie Rose and the other firefighters/EMTs take fire prevention seriously, as do firefighters with other area fire departments. The theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week centers on protecting one’s family.
The following facts, provided by the National Fire Protection Association (, about home fires should provide pause for concern:
• A home structure fire was reported every 87 seconds in 2009.
• On average, seven people die in home structure fires every day.
• In 2009, U.S. fire departments responded to 362,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 12,650 civilian injuries, 2,565 civilian deaths, $7.6 billion in direct damage.
One way to be prepared for a home fire is to develop an escape plan for use by the entire family. Locally, such an escape plan is known as EDITH, an acronym for exit drills in the home. In recent years, the Washington fire department has sponsored a contest in which students develop EDITHs for their families.
The plans must be functional and show locations of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. The drawings also just show an outside meeting place for family members to use in case of a fire.
Students who submit the best plans are rewarded, but the contest is not about the rewards. It’s about saving lives.
What could be more important?