The Delaware State Fire School and local fire departments are teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association, the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign.

“Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere” will take place Oct. 7-13.

NFPA statistics show that the number of U.S. home fires has been steadily declining over the past few decades. However, the death rate per 1,000 home fires that are reported to fire departments was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980.

“These numbers show that while we’ve made significant progress in teaching people how to prevent fires from happening, there’s still much more work to do in terms of educating the public about how to protect themselves in the event of one,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of outreach and advocacy. “This is particularly critical given the increased speed at which today’s home fires grow and spread.”

Carli also noted that although people feel safest in their home, it is also the place people are at greatest risk to fire, with four out of five U.S. fire deaths occurring at home. That overconfidence contributes to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice.

“Working in the fire service for many years, we know that people often make choices in fire situations that jeopardize their safety or even cost th mem their lives,” said Mike Lowe, senior instructor, responsible for public education, at the Delaware State Fire School. “We need to do a better job of teaching people about the potentially life-saving difference escape planning and practice can make and motivating them to action.”

“Look. Listen. Learn” highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire — look for places fire could start, listen for the sound of the smoke alarm and learn two ways out of every room.

“Situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go,” said Bill Betts, president of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association. “No matter where you are, look for available exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately.”

The Delaware Fire Service will host a series of events in support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign.

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