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National Fire Prevention Week to focus on home safety

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Dedicated to raising public awareness about the dangers of fire and how to prevent it, the Vandenberg Fire Department is observing fire prevention week this year by promoting the theme "Home Fire Safety."

This year's theme is a result of a study by the National Fire Protection Association that determined only 16 percent of homes nationwide have and practice a home fire escape plan.

The events promoting this year's theme includes a poster contest at Crestview Elementary School, Fire Safety Videos on the Commander's Access Channel and a parade on the Oct. 9.

The Vandenberg Fire Department is recommending the following guidelines to help you and your family develop a home escape plan and prepare for an emergency should it ever occur. 

- Gather your family together and draw a floor plan of your home. Mark all windows and doors. 

- Plan two ways out of every room. The first way should be the door; the second way out could be a window. Make sure windows open easily. Doors and windows with security bars need to be equipped with quick-releasing devices that everyone can operate. If you live in a multi-level building, use the stairs, never the elevator, in case of fire. 

- Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mail box, stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location on your plan.

- Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. 

- Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number 911. 

- Tell guests or visitors to your home about your family's fire escape plan.

- Be fully prepared for a real life fire; when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately. 

- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and in or near every sleeping area. Test your smoke detectors once a month and replace the batteries every six months. Make sure everyone knows the sound of the alarm and how to react immediately whenever it sounds. 

- Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. 

- Once you're out, stay out; under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatch when you call 911. Firefighters have skills and equipment to perform rescue.

For more information, call the fire prevention office at 606-4680.