Always have an escape plan

  • Published
  • By Stacey Maples
  • 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron
It seems like yesterday, although it has been more than 26 years since I was walking home from fishing at the local pond when I noticed flames shooting through the roof of my home.

I was accompanied by my two older brothers at the time and after a great deal of reflection, it was quite obvious that no one was thinking clearly that day. We collectively barged into the house to save as many valuables and personal items as possible.

We escaped through the back door and side window as the roof began to collapse and the house became engulfed in flames. We then celebrated our retrieval of personal possessions as our home burned to the ground in front of our very eyes.

I share this story with you to point out a strong lesson learned as we approach 2007's Fire Prevention Week; Practice Your Escape Plan!

Although my brother's and I escaped unharmed that dark day, we did not have an escape plan. It could have cost us our lives, albeit we should have never reentered the house in the first place; we were lucky.

Each year on average, more than 300,000 home fires are reported and more than 3,000 lives are lost due to these tragic home fires.

Based on my personal experience and the facts, I ask everyone to participate in this year's Fire Prevention Week by developing and practicing your own fire escape plan. The ability to survive is dependent on advanced planning.

While we are out next week on base and in the local community promoting Fire Prevention Week's theme of "Practice Your Escape Plan," do not hesitate to approach any firefighter to seek information on how to develop a plan.

And finally, if you have any questions on fire or life safety, please contact Moody's Fire Prevention Office at 257-4410 and our staff will assist you.