In a house fire, seconds matter. The Las Cruces Fire Department (LCFD) is joining with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for Fire Prevention Week, October 7 to October 13. It’s campaign theme reminds us to ““Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”
In those first few crucial moments of a fire, having a plan is important. While you may feel safe about being in your home, it’s the place where most people are at the greatest risk of fire. Four out of five U.S. fire deaths occur at home according to NFPA statistics.
“Most people really don’t think it’ll happen to them,” explained LCFD Battalion Chief Ted Sweetser. “But for those who do have a plan, they have a better way of stay safe when fires happen.”
There are three steps you can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire before it starts:
- Look for places fire could start. Check around the home and identify potential fire hazards. Make sure electrical cords don’t run under carpets or across doorways. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
- Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm. Once you hear the sound, you might only have minutes to leave. Make sure everyone knows the sound and that your smoke alarm is in good, working order by testing it. For those who may need a new battery, LCFD Fire Station 1, located at 201 East Picacho Avenue, will be giving away free 9-volt batteries to citizens.
- Learn 2 ways out of every room. Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily. Practice day and night time home fire drills and draw a map showing all the doors and windows to an area.
Take time to practice a plan for escaping safely, and importantly, establish a meeting place for members of the household to find each other, for example at a light post near the house.
“Once you’re out of the home, stay out,” said Sweetser. “Many times tragedies happen where someone goes back for someone who is already outside because there is so much confusion.”
Especially children feel more secure after a quick family drill, so they know the plan during scary situations. In order to help educate local children, the LCFD is beginning outreach to local elementary schools with a new inflatable, mock house. The presentation guides students through various situations with the trained firefighters, leaving them with practical tips they can take home to their families across Las Cruces.
For more information about Fire Prevention Week and home escape planning, visit
Submitted by The Las Cruces Fire Department (LCFD), which proudly serves New Mexico's second largest city with professional firefighters, who are licensed EMTs, and civilian employees. The department responds to more than 17,000 calls for service annually and is an ISO Class 1 fire department. LCFD is currently accepting applications through October 26. For more information about firefighter recruitment, contact Battalion Chief Adrian Arias at 528-3473 or via e-mail at email@example.com