Firefighters have developed all kinds of catchy slogans designed to save people in fires: Plan to Get Out Alive, Stay Low and Go, Stop, Drop and Roll, to name a few.
But those slogans don't mean much unless people actually take the time to develop an escape plan and practice getting out, Lawrence's fire marshal says.
Fire Maj. Rich Barr said residents should make a primary escape plan and a secondary route, then run through it with everybody in the house.
"You want to make it simple," he said. "Use obvious exits primarily the ones you use every day. And make sure that from every room, you have two ways out."
Usually, he said, the secondary route would be through a window. He said everyone in the house should be told to touch doors before opening them. If a door that is used in the primary escape plan is hot, keep it closed and go to Plan B.
Barr said it's important to practice the drill to ensure everybody can find a way out and to check for pitfalls. For instance, he said, residents should check windows to see whether they'll open easily.
All residences, he said, should be fitted with a smoke detector so that occupants will have enough warning to get out. And another crucial part of an escape plan, he said, would be to establish a meeting spot outside the house.
"That way, you won't think you lost somebody when they're really out behind the house," he said.
Barr said parents should try not to scare children when talking about fire safety. When firefighters present programs to children, he said, they make fire safety a game.
He said firefighters tell children their message is important "so that parents can enforce it when they come home."
Aynsley Anderson, community education coordinator at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, also helps organize fire safety programs for children. She said the fire department does an excellent job of reaching children without scaring them.
"I know when my daughter came home (from a fire department presentation) she knew it all, and she's 4 years old," Anderson said. "Kids really soak it up if it's done in a non-threatening way."