Every year nearly two million homes are destroyed by fire. In fact, fire departments are called every 90 seconds to respond to a home fire. Since fires are so destructive, do you have a fire escape plan in case the unthinkable happens in your home?
A small fire can quickly get out of control, and therefore it is important to have a fire escape plan. You want to create a plan which will enable everyone in your family to escape as quickly as possible. But what does a fire escape plan include?
Begin by drawing a basic diagram of your house including where all sleeping areas, windows and doors are located. On the drawing, show each floor of your home and where access to each one is located. When you have the drawing completed, make several copies of it so you can determine the best escape plan.
Create two plans of escape from each room of your home. Escape routes may include windows or doors. For second story rooms, you’ll want to have roll-out ladders which will enable someone to safely escape through the second story room, or plan for them to get to the lower level and escape.
Once you have the escape routes planned for each room, practice leaving from each one as if there were a fire. This will enable you to see if there are problems with the escape routes and give you an opportunity to find a route which works best while there isn’t a fire to contend with.
Experts recommend practicing your escape plan a minimum of every six months, but suggest once a month is better. The more often you practice escaping from your home, pretending the fire is located in a different area each time, the better prepared you will be if the unthinkable should happen. You’ll also want to be sure everyone in the family is involved in the drills – even very young children.
Post the escape plan for each floor of your home in a location where it will be easily seen. When you have guests or caretakers in your home, be sure to point the escape plan out to them so they are aware of what has already been planned.
Have a specific place outside of the home where everyone will meet. This enables adults to know if everyone has made it out of the home. Teaching children never to go back into a house for any reason is also important.
Other things to talk about when doing fire drills with your family include:
* Teaching children that they should never hide from fire fighters. Even though they might look scary, fire fighters are there to rescue them.
* Talk about the importance of remaining close to the ground to avoid the chance of smoke inhalation.
* Touch the door before trying to leave through it to ensure the door is not hot. Touching the door handle could result in a burn since the handle is metal and will conduct heat.
Do everything you can to avoid having a fire in your home. If one should start, having a fire escape plan is the first step to keeping your family safe in the case of a house fire. However, it won’t do you any good if you don’t practice it. Practice it often to ensure your entire family knows what to do and where to go if there is a fire so they will have a better chance of avoiding injury.