The City of Key West, Florida

The Southernmost City in th Continental United States


Plan & Practice Your Escape

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 Key West Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) ­-- the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years -- to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape, Plan and Practice Your Escape!” which works to educate the public about basic but essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire.

At this week’s City Commission meeting, Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission proclaimed October 6th through the 12th as Fire Prevention Week.

The Key West Fire Department considers all of the month of October as Fire Prevention Month, and is hosting a series of events in support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, including annual visits of fire personnel and apparatus to schools for life safety education, as well as visits to the fire stations by day care facilities. The Key West Fire Department will also be offering free smoke alarms for homes that do not currently have alarms.

NFPA statistics show that the number of U.S. home fires has been steadily declining over the past few decades. However, the fire death rate per 1000 home fires reported to U.S. fire departments being 4 percent higher in 2017 than in 1980.

Fire Marshal Danny Blanco notes that, although people feel safest in their home, it is also the place people are at greatest risk to fire, with four out of five U.S. fire deaths occurring at home. That over-confidence contributes to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice.

“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,” said Blanco. “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.”

While NFPA and the Key West Fire Department are focusing on home fires, these fire safety messages apply to virtually anywhere.

“Situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go,” said Blanco. “No matter where you are, look for available exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately.”

For more information about Fire Prevention Week and home escape planning, visit

 fire safety

In the photo: Commissioners Gregory Davila, Jimmy Weekley and Mary Lou Hoover, Fire Marshal Danny Blanco, Capt. Alan Averette, Fir Chief Michael Davila, and City Commissioners Sam Kaufman, Billy Wardlow, and Clayton Lopez.