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HONOLULU -- Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on Oct. 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage.

This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.

The Federal Fire Department Region Hawaii would like to share the 2022 National Fire Prevention Week theme with everyone. “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape!”

Here are some Safety Tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on how to make a home escape plan.

  • Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss the plan with everyone in your home.
  • Know at least two ways out of each room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
  • Have an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.
  • Practice your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year.
  • Practice using different ways out.
  • CLOSE the doors behind you as you leave.


  • If the smoke alarm sounds, GET OUT AND STAY OUT. Never go back inside for people or pets.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, GET LOW AND GO under the smoke to your way out.
  • Call the fire department (911) from outside your home.


  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Install smoke alarms inside every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
  • According to a National Fire Protection Association survey, only one of every three Americans households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
  • While 71% of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 47% of those have practiced it.
  • One-third of Americans households who made an estimate thought they would have a least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out.

High-rise Apartment and Condominium Safety

  • For the best protection, select a fully sprinklered building. If your building is not sprinklered, ask the landlord or management to consider installing a sprinklered system.
  • Meet with your landlord or building manager to learn about the fire safety features in your building (fire alarms, sprinklers, voice communication procedures, evacuation plans and how to respond to an alarm).
  • Know the locations of all available exit stairs from your floor in case the nearest one is blocked by fire or smoke.
  • Make sure all exit and stairwell doors are clearly marked, not locked or blocked by security bars and clear of clutter.
  • If there is a fire, pull the fire alarm on your way out to notify the fire department and your neighbors.
  • If the fire alarm sounds, feel the door before opening and close all doors behind you as you leave. If it is hot, use another way out. If it is cool, leave by the nearest way out.
  • If an announcement is made throughout the building, listen and carefully follow directions.
  • Use the stairs to get out. Typically you should not use the elevator unless directed by the fire department. Some buildings are being equipped with elevators intended for use during emergency situation. These types of elevators will clearly be marked that they are safe to use in the event of an emergency.
  • Always follow up with a 911 call to notify the fire department once you are outside in a safe location. Let them know if someone is trapped inside the building.
  • If unable to get out because of fire, smoke or disability, STUFF wet towels or sheets around the door and vents to keep smoke out.
  • Call the fire department and tell them where you are.
  • Open a window slightly and wave a bright cloth to signal your location. Be prepared to close the window if it makes the smoke conditions worse.
  • Fire department evacuation of a high-rise building can take a long time. Communicate with the fire department to monitor evacuation status.

The Federal Fire Department will have informational booths with Fire Truck static displays at several Department of Defense Exchange locations.

Fed Fire would like to invite you to the following stores to get more fire safety tips to keep your families, homes and work place free of fire hazards:

  • Oct. 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Tripler Army Medical Center Express
  • Oct. 7, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Marine Corps Base Hawaii Exchange
  • Oct. 11, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Fort Shafter Exchange
  • Oct. 12, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Schofield Barracks Exchange
  • Oct. 13, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Hickam Exchange
  • Oct. 14, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Navy Exchange
  • Oct. 18, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Aliamanu Military Reservation Express

The Federal Fire Station 15 on Schofield Barracks will hold an open house Tuesday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Bring the family and meet the firefighters, see the fire trucks, tour the fire station and learn more about fire safety.

Station 15 is located in Bldg. 140, A Road, across from the Popeye’s and Burger King near Foote Gate.

For more fire safety tips, visit the NFPA websites at https://www.nfpa.org/fpw and https://sparky.org/.