How to Create an At-Home Fire Escape Plan
When it comes to home fire protection, smoke alarms and a detailed fire escape plan are the best ways to protect your family. The NFPA conducted a study of home fires reported between 2014-2018. During that period, there was an average of 353,100 home fires per year across the US, causing an average of 2,620 deaths per year. There are ways you can decrease your risk of becoming one of the statistics. Having a fire escape plan in the event of a fire is one of the best ways to make sure your family is safe.
How to Develop a Fire Escape Plan
Have a fire escape plan prepared ahead of time. Walkthrough your home and come up with some exit points. Point out two exits in each room. Whether it is a door or a window, have an alternative way to get out if other exits are blocked. Keep doors unobstructed to prevent loss of precious time. Make sure all windows can open. When a window is painted or nailed shut, it cannot be an exit. You may even want to store ladders and hammers in an accessible place. If you have to exit through a window, but the window won’t budge, a hammer can be helpful. A ladder will help you exit upstairs windows.
Adapting as Needed
Be aware of the people in your house and their needs. If there are children, assign someone to look after them in a fire. Do the same for elderly or handicapped people in your house. They will need assistance evacuating as quickly as possible. Part of a good fire escape plan is to create a spot that you will all meet and gather in the event of a fire to take a headcount. A good example is to meet at the mailbox at the end of the driveway, where it is far enough away from the structure.
Don’t keep the fire escape plan to yourself. Ensure the family is involved in the plans and knows it thoroughly before an emergency occurs. Go over the plan at least once a year with your family to make sure they remember.
When A Fire Occurs
Keep a few other things in mind when a fire occurs other than the arranged fire escape plan and calling 911. Do not try and put the fire out with an extinguisher. Only use extinguishers on small, localized fires. Once you are out, you must stay out. Do not go back in for things, papers, pets, or even people. Let the fire department know there is someone inside. They have the equipment and training for search and rescue, and you do not.
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Check out a few additional resources to start your fire escape planning today.