DEAR ABBY: Last October, a quarter of a million families took time out of their busy schedules to plan and practice how they would get out if their homes caught fire. They did this during The Great Escape, the unified North American fire drill held in communities large and small in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week.
Planning ahead can make the difference in surviving a fire. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has been tracking the number of families participating in The Great Escape and the number of lives saved because of their participation. Today, 40 people are alive because they knew what to do when fire broke out. The few minutes these families spent on the Great Escape home fire drill saved their lives.
I wish every family who experienced a home fire was fortunate. Sadly, every year more than 4,000 people die in fires in the United States, and eight out of 10 die in the home -- the place most feel safest. Home fire deaths are overwhelmingly preventable. The keys to survival are early warning, and planning and practice for how to escape.
Abby, please remind your readers that a successful home fire escape plan must include working smoke detectors on every level of the home, knowing two ways out from each room, having a meeting place outside where the family will gather, and practicing the plan at least twice a year. Your readers can join in the fun on Wednesday, Oct. 6, when communities across the United States and Canada participate in The Great Escape unified fire drill. -- GEORGE D. MILLER, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION
DEAR MR. MILLER: This week is Fire Prevention Week, and I hope my readers will use this week as a reminder to plan and practice their home fire drills. It takes only a few minutes and it could save lives.
Readers, tomorrow is The Great Escape, a unified fire drill in which you should participate. Please make a commitment to find out about it today from notices in your newspaper or radio, or by calling your local fire department for information, and tomorrow take part in the drill. It may save your life or that of someone you love.