News & Information

Posted on: October 10, 2017

You and your family are fast asleep when the smoke alarm sounds: Do you know what to do?

Brownsville Fire Department

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (October 10, 2017) – Consider this scenario: It’s 2 o’clock in the morning. You and your family are fast asleep when you awaken to the smoke alarm sounding and the smell of smoke. What do you do? If you and your family don’t have a plan in place, it could jeopardize your safety, or even prove deadly.

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. That’s why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” works to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it.

In support of Fire Prevention Week, October 8-14, 2017, Interim Fire Chief Jarrett Sheldon encourages all Brownsville families to develop a plan together and practice it. A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole, or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home.

“Developing and practicing a home escape plan is an essential part of home fire safety,” said Interim Fire Chief Jarrett Sheldon. “We urge families to develop a plan, in addition to properly maintaining smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms are designed to help families escape residential fires and significantly increase the chances of surviving a home fire.”

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Brownsville Fire Department offer these additional tips and recommendations for developing and practicing a home escape plan:

  • 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; and
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

For more information about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” and home escape planning, visit

 Fire Prevention Week - Photo


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