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During Fire Prevention Week Sparky says — Every Second Counts

Sparky, Panago Pizza, Maglio’s Building Center, and Nelson Fire & Rescue Services urge all Nelson residents to take the time to two plan escape routes from their homes.

Consider this scenario: It’s 2 o’clock in the morning  - You and your family are fast asleep when you awaken to the smoke alarm sounding and the smell of smoke. What do you do? If you and your family don’t have a plan in place, or haven’t practiced that plan, it could jeopardize your safety, or even prove deadly.

In a typical house fire, you could have as little as 1-2 minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. That’s why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.

“Developing and practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory,” said Fire Chief Len MacCharles of Nelson Fire Rescue Services (NFRS). “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.”

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” works to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it. 

Nelson Fire and Rescue Services is not only encouraging residents to develop their personal escape plans, but also asking people to put thought into what might be needed in the case of an evacuation, as was the required in many municipalities when several forest fires grew out of control this summer.

In support of Fire Prevention Week, October 8-14, Chief MacCharles encourages all Nelson 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.

Nelson Fire & Rescue Services and the NFPA 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.

NF&RS has already started promoting their fire safety messages, by visiting and assisting some Nelson homeowners in checking their smoke alarms.  They will continue with school visits throughout the city and by partnering with Panago Pizza and Maglio’s Building Center.  During the week of October 8-14th, the fire department will go along with one Panago Pizza delivery each night.  If the resident can show a working smoke alarm, he or she will win free pizza!  Those who do not will be given a new alarm, donated by Maglio’s Building Center.

To find out more about Fire Prevention Week activities go to or find NF&RS on Facebook.  Alternately, please contact the Nelson fire hall at 352-3103. You can also check out the NFPA’s Web site at 

Photo Caption: Nelson Fire Rescue Firefighter Chris Thast and Sparky will be out this week to try to give away a Panago Pizza each night. — Submitted photo