In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between escaping safely from a fire or having your lives end in tragedy.

This years fire prevention weeks theme is  “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”

Most people plan escapes and drills at work but very rarely at home or in community areas.

This week is to make people more aware of this planning and ways to help prevent fire and it spreading .

Here are a few tips on things you can do to ensure your loved ones can escape a fire in your home:

* Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.

*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.

*Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.

*Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.

*If there is smoke filling the exit route, stay low crawling under the smoke.

*Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

Prevention is key to ensuring a fire doesn’t break out, making sure all electrical equipment is turned off and all fires and candles are well out before you leave the house or go to bed, are all important in helping prevent a fire in your home.

Ensure fire alarms are place properly throughout the home and are in good working order – DO NOT REMOVE THE BATTERIES TO SILENCE FALSE ALARMS!!

Having a fire blanket or extinguisher within the kitchen, to tackle small kitchen fires is always a good idea.  If exits are limited think about how to evacuate through windows – escape ladders and life hammers may help with this.