Look. Listen. Learn. Fire Prevention Week is around the corner!

  • Published
  • By Guy P. Chastain
  • 721st Civil Engineer Squadron

As Fire Prevention Week approaches, the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station Fire Department encourages residents to “Look. Listen. Learn.”


Today’s home fires burn faster than ever. In a typical home fire, you 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 CMAFSFD is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “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 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 work to do in terms of educating the public about how to protect themselves in the event of one,” said Loraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of outreach and advocacy. “This is particularly critical given the increased speed at which today’s home fires grow and spread.”


Carli also notes 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.


“Working in the fire service for many years, we know that people often make choices in fire situations that jeopardize their safety or even cost them their lives,” said Guy Chastain, Assistant Chief for Fire Prevention, of CMAFSFD. “We need to do a better job of teaching people about the potentially life-saving difference escape planning and practice can make, and motivating them to action.”


Mr. Chastain says this year’s campaign highlights three steps people can take to 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.


While NFPA and the CMAFSFD are focusing on home fires, these fire safety messages apply to virtually anywhere.


“Situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go,” said Chastain. “No matter where you are, look for available exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately.”


Home fire escape planning and drills are an essential part of fire safety. A home fire escape plan needs to be developed and practiced before a fire strikes. NFPA offers these additional tips and recommendations for home fire escape planning:

  • A home escape plan should include the following:
    • Two exits from every room in the home – usually a door and a window
    • Properly installed and working smoke alarms
    • A meeting place outside, in front of the home, where everyone will meet after they exit
    • A call to 911 for the local emergency number from a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.


CMAFSFD is working in coordination with NFPA, the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, to reinforce these potentially life-saving messages. This year, Fire Prevention Week is from October 7-13.


To learn more about this year’s campaign and for more information about home escape planning, visit www.firepreventionweek.org, contact your local fire department, or call the CMAFS Fire Prevention Office at 719-474-3355.