Schuyler Street tragedy highlights importance of fire safety plans

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Utica Fire officials have indicated that Monday's fire on Schuyler Street that killed a mother and her three young children was so aggressive, there probably isn't a fire safety plan in the world that could have saved them.

However, the tragedy highlights the importance of having such a plan in place.

Former Whitesboro Fire Chief and current president of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York Brian McQueen says that statistics show that a frighteningly large amount of families aren't doing enough to protect themselves from fire in the home.

"What makes a good sports team is a team that knows how to practice and practices well," McQueen said. "And there's statistics out there that say of all the plans out there, 45% have never been practiced before."

McQueen says it's not enough to simply have a plan; it must be put on paper, talked about and practiced. Of crucial importance: knowing more than one exit from the home and how to reach them.

Also very important is having a common meeting place outside the home; that way, there's no confusion about who, if anyone, might still be in the home.

McQueen says anyone unsure about how to begin crafting a fire safety plan can ask their local fire department for guidance.

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