Emergency Fire Exit

Simple safety tips that may one day save your life: Look, listen and learn.

Today’s home fires burn faster than ever. In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Knowing how to use that time wisely takes planning and practice.

The Drexel Heights Fire District is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association, the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week™ for more than 90 years, to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere™,” which works to educate the public about basic but essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire. 

NFPA statistics show that the number of U.S. home fires has steadily declined over the past few decades. However, the death rate per 1,000 home fires that are reported to fire departments was 10 percent higher in 2016 than 1980.

Working in the fire service for many years, we know that people often make choices in fire situations that jeopardize their safety or even cost them their lives. We need to do a better job of teaching people about the potentially life-saving difference escape planning and practice can make and motivating them to action.

This year’s “Look. Listen. Learn.” campaign highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire:

Look for places fire could start.

Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.

Learn two ways out of every room. 

Drexel Heights Fire District, along with other community partners, are hosting a special event in support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn.,” for primary school children. On Oct. 4, students will be bused to the AVA Amphitheater where public safety professionals will put on a production called AZ Bandstand. Students will learn through presentations with music about how to keep their families safe.

That’s not all we’re up to at Drexel Heights.

Fire Chief Douglas Chappell recently announced that the district received a nearly $400,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Drexel Heights Fire District will use the funding to obtain Cardiac Monitor/Defibrillator equipment and to provide training. The AFG’s purpose is to make direct awards to fire departments to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public.

The new units being purchased have significantly more features than the existing ones, and will connect directly to the district’s recently deployed computer tablet patient reporting system. Cardiac Monitor/Defibrillators are used to monitor and interpret a patient’s heart rhythm and when necessary, deliver an electrical shock to the patient to restart a heart that has stopped beating. Because the new units connect to the reporting system which allows the paramedic’s report to be forwarded via wireless connection to the hospital during transport, the heart information will be transmitted to the doctor also.

This will assist the receiving hospital in preparing for the arrival of the patient and it will allow the hospital to have necessary medical care equipment ready for the patient. Drexel Heights District Battalion Chief Bratton was the key player in the development of this grant application.

“These grants are critical for our district, because we could not afford these purchases without the grants,” Chief Chappell said. 

The Drexel Heights Fire District Board meets on the third Friday of each month at 9 a.m. in the training classroom next to Station #1, located at 5030 S. Camino Verde. The public is encouraged to attend. 

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