WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — October is National Fire Prevention Month, and South Walton Fire District wants to ensure you and your family are safe in the event of an emergency.

One thing they are educating the community on is the importance of a fire escape plan. 

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, families often have around 2 to 3 minutes to evacuate safely when a fire is burning in a home.

South Walton Fire District Fire Marshal, Sammy Sanchez said you need to create a physical map of your home and make sure everyone in your house is aware of the plan. 

“You should know at least two ways out of every room and pick a meeting place like a mailbox or something outside so you can account for all your family members,” he said.

Sanchez also recommends you practice the escape plan with your family and be sure to include a modified plan for small children. 

“A child may not be strong enough to lift a window to escape,” he said.

In addition, you’ll want to close every door to stop the spread of the fire.

You’ll also want to ensure you have a smoke alarm in every room. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, 3 out of every 5 fire deaths occur in homes without a smoke alarm system.

Sanchez recommends you test the system monthly, replace a smoke alarm every 10 years, and if yours is battery operated that you change the batteries in coordination with the seasonal time change. 

South Walton Fire District provides free battery-operated smoke alarms to South Walton residents. 

They’ll also be hosting their famous ‘Pancake Breakfast’ on Oct. 8th from 8 a.m. In years past, this event has been held at SWFD Fire Station 2, located in Watercolor. However, the 2022 Pancake Breakfast will be held at the SWFD Logistics and Fleet Maintenance Facility located at 911 N. County Highway 393 in Santa Rosa Beach.

All-you-can-eat pancakes will be served for $5 per person, with the proceeds going toward purchasing fire prevention materials. The department uses these materials for public education and to provide items like free, residential smoke alarms to those in need throughout the year.

To learn more about smoke alarm systems and how to make a fire escape plan watch the interviews above.