Fire won't wait. Plan your escape.

Fire won't wait. Plan your escape.
Posted on 09/29/2022

It’s Fire Prevention Month in Lenexa, and we’re clearing up some common myths about fire safety. See if you’ve fallen for any of the misconceptions below.

One easy way to help you prepare for a fire emergency: Join us for a community-wide fire escape drill during National Fire Prevention Week!

 Visit and make a plan. The week of October 9-15, practice your drill with everyone in your household or workplace. Then, share pictures of your group at your outside meeting place on social media with #FirePreventionWeek, and tag Lenexa Fire.

House floor planMYTH: I will have plenty of time to gather my family and evacuate if a fire starts.

FACT: You could have less than two minutes to get out of your house in the event of a fire. Homes burn faster than ever due to synthetic fibers in furniture and modern, open floor plans. Smoke can make an entire house dark in minutes, causing you to become disoriented and unable to find your way out.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 66% of American households do not have a fire escape plan. Having an escape plan that your whole household practices regularly is key to your survival.

  • Draw a map of your home showing two escape routes from each room.
  • Identify an outside meeting place away from your home like a mailbox or tree.
  • Practice your fire escape plan during the day and night at least twice per year.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot get to them.
  • Call 911 from outside your home, and don’t go back in.

Hand closing doorMYTH: Keeping bedroom doors open while sleeping will keep my family safer if there’s a fire. If my bedroom door is open, I can get out quickly.

FACT: Shut doors save lives. Keeping bedroom doors closed while sleeping can reduce fire growth and slow the spread of smoke. A closed door can also reduce the temperature in your bedroom by up to 900 degrees. Visit for more information.

If a fire occurs in your home, shut all doors and windows as you escape your house. This will reduce the amount of oxygen available to fuel the fire and can provide firefighters more time to respond.

Firefighter in smokeMYTH: If I am sleeping and a fire occurs, I will smell the smoke and wake up.

FACT: Approximately 50% of house fires happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Smoke can quickly fill a room and cause deadly levels of carbon monoxide to accumulate. People often do not wake up when smoke fills a room – anyone who does will likely only wake up once it’s too late to escape.

Sprinkler on ceilingMYTH: Home sprinkler systems are costly, and if a fire occurs, every sprinkler will activate and ruin everything in my house.

FACT: On average, home sprinkler systems in new construction cost $1.35 per square foot. The cost does increase to retrofit an existing home but generally, homeowner’s insurance rates are lower in homes with sprinkler systems. In the event of a fire, typically, only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire, leaving the rest of the house dry and secure and providing you valuable time to escape your home. Visit for more information.

Person replacing smoke detectorMYTH: The smoke alarms in my house are more than 10 years old but they still beep when I test them, so they don’t need to be replaced.

FACT: Smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years (or sooner if the test function no longer works). Although an older smoke alarm may still beep when tested, it cannot be relied on to function in the event of an emergency. You should follow all manufacturer recommendations for your specific smoke alarms.

Handyman installing smoke detectorMYTH: My home inspector didn’t suggest new or additional smoke alarms when I bought my house, so I’m protected.

FACT: Unfortunately, smoke alarms are not required to be checked by home inspectors when purchasing a home. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure they are less than 10 years old and function properly.

The best chance of early warning of a fire in your home is achieved by installing interconnected smoke alarms on each level of the home, inside each sleeping room and outside the sleeping areas. Visit for more information on the types of smoke alarms and where to place them.

Published September 29, 2022