Texas state fire marshal urges everyone to have an exit strategy

Monday, February 11, 2013 - 12:00am

In the wake of the tragic Kiss nightclub fire in Brazil, the State Fire Marshal's Office (SFMO) reminds everyone to Have an Exit Strategy (HAES). HAES urges all Texans to identify two ways out of any room they're in, whether that room happens to be a nightclub, a movie theater, a boardroom at work, their own kitchen, or any other location.

According to State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy, it is important to be mentally prepared to escape from a fire, which means having an exit strategy. "When a fire breaks out, people panic and tend to only remember one way out of the room--usually the door they came in. By taking a few minutes to note two exits you can quickly move to a usable exit should the first become blocked or impassable," he comments.

A study conducted by the National Fire Protection Association revealed that Americans overestimate the amount of time they might have to escape from a fire. Although many believe they would have at least six minutes to escape before a fire becomes life threatening, the reality is that fire and toxic smoke can become deadly throughout a home within two to four minutes.

The Have an EXIT Strategy campaign was developed in response to a similar incident in Rhode Island in 2003. One hundred people died at the Station nightclub when a fire broke out and the majority rushed for the front door, blocking it completely, while other exits were unused. That tragedy prompted SFMO to explore ways to urge the public to be aware of their surroundings and note all exits when entering a public space or building. Know at least two ways out, because the best way out may not be the way you came in.

Visit www.haveanexitstrategy.com, or find Have an EXIT Strategy on Facebook.

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