Thomasville, GA-October 10 2012
When fire strikes, your home could be engulfed in flames in minutes. With little time to think, would you and your family know what to do?
"Once you get outside stay away from the house. If none of your family members are out there yet, you don't go back in, don't get around the house, just call 911," said third-grader and Thomasville resident Emily Sumner.
Thomas County Fire officials are working to make sure families have a plan.
"Know two ways out of your house in case one way is blocked, you want to be able to go out the other way. Out a window, a door; a door being the primary exit and then a window or second door being the secondary exit," said Lt. Robert Duthoy with Thomas County Fire-Rescue.
Thomas County Fire Chief Chris Jones added, "We recommend that outside of each bedroom area, that there's at least one smoke detector; preferred hard wired into the home, but also with a battery backup."
Officials say fire prevention should begin in the kitchen because that's where about 70% of fires start.
"Don't leave your cooking unattended," said Lt. Duthoy. "Keep a fire extinguisher handy, just outside of the kitchen area, something you can get to in case you do a have a fire."
Purchasing insurance is also a crucial part of being prepared.
"Quite often we do see where someone is renting a home and they do not have renters insurance to cover their property, and essentially some of those people lose everything that they have, that they've acquired over the years," said Chief Jones.
Families should also designate a meeting place. That way, firefighters and family members know if everyone made it out safely or if there are still people inside.