CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – In the wake of a deadly house fire in Springfield Thursday morning, a reminder Thursday night to all western Massachusetts residents to always be prepared, and have an escape plan.

Captain Katie Collins-Kalbaugh of Chicopee Fire Department told 22News they cannot stress enough how important working smoke alarms are and to also have a plan to get out. “A fire inside a structure doubles every 30 seconds, so every second really counts,” said Captain Collins-Kalbaugh.

Seconds, that’s how long you have to get out of a building on fire. Numbers show most deadly fires happen in homes, one recently claimed the lives of two people in Springfield. Local fire officials saying now is the time to prepare for an emergency, it could save your life.

“You need to have those working smoke alarms to have those valuable minutes,
you need smoke alarms that are in date, not more than ten years, that are photo-electric smoke alarms, and you need to have working carbon monoxide alarms as well,” Captain Collins-Kalbaugh added.

Fire officials say to have an evacuation plan, and make sure everyone in your family knows how at least two exits from every room in your home. Draw a floor plan of your home that includes all ways to get outside, whether it’s a door or a window, and use arrows to show the escape route. If you have children in your household, go over the plan with them, and make sure they recognize the sound of a smoke alarm. In addition to that, choose a safe meeting place outdoors.

“You need to have a plan, and you need to practice that plan, so if an emergency strikes, you are ready to go,” expressed Captain Collins-Kalbaugh.

And once you have left a building that is on fire, do not go back inside, and call 911 immediately.