Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape.

Fire Prevention Week ended on Saturday. However, for Puget Sound Fire, getting the message out to our communities will continue for the rest of October and throughout the year. Recently, members of our own department were asked what they do to plan and practice with their own families. Here are a few of the responses the Public Education Department received:

Joel Willits, Captain

Will you please share a small bit about your family and why having a plan and practicing is so important to you?
Having a plan is important to our family because if a fire occurs, our small children know exactly what to do, and where to meet. It is important to practice, because just like anything else in life, you don’t want the time when you need it to be the first time you’ve done it.

What’s your plan at home?
All our bedrooms are on Floor 2 at our house. If there is a fire, our plan is to make our way downstairs out the front door and to meet in our neighbor’s driveway across the street.

How often do you practice?
We have practiced this a couple of times. But we make a point to ask the kids what they would do if they hear the smoke alarms going off.

Where’s your meeting spot?
Our meeting spot is the neighbor’s driveway directly across the street. The kids know if we have to do the plan, we meet in “Miss Wendy’s driveway”

Do you have a shelter in place plan?
Our shelter in place plan is to meet in our bedroom, as it has an easy access out the window and to the first floor.

Kimberly Behymer, Emergency Management Program Coordinator

What’s your plan at home?
We’ve talked to the kids about meeting outside and all the usual stuff (like just leave, don’t worry about breaking the window).

How often do you practice?
We practice at least once a year and talk about the plan frequently. When the smoke alarm goes off by accident, we start to evacuate until either Rob or I say “It’s okay. The alarm went off because of this…” I want the kids to have the muscle memory of evacuating no matter what. They don’t have to make the decision. Also, in the summertime they practice opening their window. We found during the first “drill” that my girls could not open the gate. We’ve since added a lower handle and changed some of the hardware.

Where’s your meeting spot?
It used to be the big tree at the neighbors…but then they cut the tree down. Now it’s the big stump. It’s perfect because they can stand on top of it.

Do you have a shelter in place plan?
Not really. But we have a “stay at home plan” with plenty of supplies to last several weeks. We use freeze dried foods. It’s now “power out Alfredo.” Sounds yummier than it really is!

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