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Fire Marshal: Fire Prevention Week Time to Work on Exit Plan
South Dakota Ag Connection - 10/06/2017

South Dakota's fire marshal is encouraging families to use this year's Fire Prevention Week as an opportunity to practice their exit plans.

Fire Prevention Week starts Sunday, Oct. 8, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 14. This year's theme is "Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!"

State Fire Marshal Paul Merriman says individuals and families should plan two ways out of their home in case of fire. He says just as important is to practice their plan.

"Families should hold fire drills in their homes at least twice a year; once during the day and another time at night," Merriman says. "It is important that everyone, especially children, know how to get out of a burning structure using more than one exit."

As always, another emphasis during the week will be the use of smoke alarms. Merriman says the importance of smoke alarms can't be stressed enough.

"We have seen too many house fires where there were no smoke alarms present or the alarms in the homes were not properly working," he says. "Smoke alarms can help save lives. But they do no good when not properly maintained."

Smoke alarm messages for this week include:

- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.

- Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. This way, when one sounds, they all do.

- Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.

- Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it.

- If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Go to your outside meeting place.

- Call the fire department from outside the home.

So far this year, there have been 16 fire-related deaths in South Dakota. The 2016 total was 14.

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