Fire Prevention Week in Gratis

R-H Staff

GRATIS — The Village of Gratis Volunteer Fire Department is honoring Fire Prevention Week by hosting an Open House on Oct. 9 from 6-9 p.m. at the Gratis Fire Department. The event will feature activities and displays intended to inform the public about fire safety.

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 8-14 and is dedicated to learning what to do in case of a fire. This year’s Fire Prevention Week is theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”

“Developing and practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory,” said Chris Allen, Assistant Chief of the Gratis Volunteer Fire Department. “That pre-planning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.”

The theme is intended to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it. The Gratis Volunteer Fire Department is working in coordination with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the official sponsor of the Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, to reinforce those potentially life-saving messages.

“Home escape planning is one of the most basic but fundamental elements of home fire safety, and can truly make the difference between life and death in a fire situation,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.

In support of Fire Prevention Week, Fire Chief Jeff King encourages all Gratis households 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.

NFPA and the Gratis Volunteer 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.

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

For more information about Fire Prevention Week activities in Gratis, visit Gratis Volunteer Fire Department on Facebook. To learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out” and home escape planning, visit

R-H Staff