If you awoke to a fire in your home, how much time would you have to safely get out? 

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), many people incorrectly estimate they would have at least six minutes before a fire would become life-threatening.

Unfortunately, the time to safely escape is often far less than six minutes.

That’s why McKinney’s Fire Department (MFD) is teaming up with NFPA to urge residents to “Have Two Ways Out!”

In 2011, the MFD responded to a total of 90 residential structure fires, resulting in losses estimated at $2.5 million. 

“Fortunately there were no fatalities as a result of these fires; however, there were eight injuries reported,” says Stacie Durham, Public Information Officer for the MFD. “Fire is unpredictable and moves fast. Having a tried and true escape plan with two ways out of every room is essential to your family’s safety should fire break out in your home.” 

To increase your chances of surviving a fire in your home, the McKinney Fire Department recommends the following:

  • Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.
  • Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home, like a neighbor’s mailbox or other neighborhood landmark. This is where everyone can meet once they’ve escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.
  • Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department (9-1-1) on your escape plan.
  • Have an adult sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone who lives in your home.
  • Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.
To reiterate the importance of fire safety, the McKinney Fire Department will host Open Houses at Fire Station No. 1 (301 N. McDonald St.) and Fire Station No. 5 (6600 Virginia Parkway) from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11.

Firefighters and community volunteers will provide tours, educational materials and give-aways to promote fire and life safety, and focus on “Have Two Ways Out!” 

Residents are encouraged to stop by to meet firefighters, tour the station, see gear and vehicles, and learn ways to keep your family safe in an emergency.

In addition to these activities, the MFD’s McTown Klownz are visiting all McKinney elementary schools throughout the month of October, and the Fire Department will participate in Scare on the Square on Wednesday, Oct. 31. The month will conclude with the McTown Klownz performing at the McKinney Performing Arts Center (MPAC) at 7 PM, immediately following Scare on the Square. 

There is no cost for admission to the MPAC performance. Through these educational, family-oriented activities, residents can learn more about the importance of fire escape planning and practice, as well as the power of prevention.

To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities in McKinney, please contact the McKinney Fire Department at 972-547-2850 or visit www.mckinneyfire.org.  To learn more about “Have Two Ways Out!” visit NFPA’s Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org.

The McKinney Fire Department is your resource for life safety and risk reduction information and education. For additional information or to schedule a program, please visit www.mckinneyfire.org or call 972-547-2850.