Fire dept. encourages homeowners to make escape plan during National Fire Prevention Week

Make and practice your fire escape plan

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - More than 50 Tennesseans have lost their lives in fires across the state this year, as of late September.

National Fire Prevention Week is now underway with a focus on making and practicing your escape plan.

When a fire breaks out in your home, seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy.

On Monday, investigators say a faulty breaker box was to blame for a midtown fire. The home was destroyed, but thankfully no one was hurt, and the house did have working smoke detectors.

“We get a lot of ‘it won’t happen to me’ syndrome,” said Brent Perkins, Shelby County Fire Department.

That’s why each year, since 1922, the National Fire Prevention Agency sponsors the public observance of Fire Prevention Week.

This year’s campaign is stressing the importance of making a fire escape plan. A plan that include two ways out of each room.

Brent Perkins with the Shelby County Fire Department says don’t just make the plan -- practice it.

“You may have gone down the stairs in your home 5,000 times, this particular time it may feel like you have never done it before. It’s new to you, and you could get lost in your own home,” said Perkins.

Shelby County Fire is on track to keep pace with its trend of responding to 100 fires on average a year.

Perkins says homes are burning faster and hotter than ever as a result of more furniture and decorations -- in homes now made from synthetic material.

“We teach our firefighters in recruit classes that if a fire has been burning for seven minutes, as a rule, every minute after that it’s going to double in size provided it’s got heat, fuel and air,” said Perkins.

When it’s a race against the clock to escape, knowing how you get out safely ahead of time is key for survival.

Create your own fire escape plan for your home here.

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