RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

Riverside County residents who have not determined how
they would handle a fire at home should make a point of doing so for their
families' safety, county fire Chief John Hawkins said today.
``Families should prepare to escape a burning structure by planning and
practicing two ways out,'' Hawkins said. ``Hold regular fire drills to ensure
you and your loved-ones know what to do in the event that your home catches
fire. It is equally important to make provisions for children and our loved-
ones with disabilities.''
National Fire Prevention Week began Sunday and runs through Saturday,
and county and state public safety officials were hoping the occasion -- this
year themed ``Have Two Ways Out'' -- would serve to highlight the need for
preparedness.
Officials said drawing up a fire escape plan with the following elements
can be a life-saver:
-- marking a door or window that residents can use to immediately get
out of the house during an emergency; and
-- establishing a meeting place where all family members can huddle
safely after an escape.
According to the fire department, residents should ensure on a regular
basis that all smoke alarms are in working order.
State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover said 70 percent of structure fires in
California last year were residential and accounted for 90 percent of fire-
related deaths.