An escape plan is important for the safety of you and your family in case of a fire. It’s a diagram of your home. But a plan is is not enough alone. The plan must be practiced by everyone.
To begin, have the entire family participate. Draw a diagram of your home showing the walls and the location of the windows and doors. Draw the route from every room to the outside. Be sure to locate two ways out of each room, in the event that one exit is blocked off. For most, the second escape route will be out of a window. For rooms on a second floor, you may need to look into purchasing an escape ladder.
Everyone in the home should be familiar with the escape routes in each and every room. The next step is to plan on a meeting place. Everyone in the family should agree on a meeting place within a safe distance outside of the home. This could be at the corner of a sidewalk or at a mailbox, for example. Having a meeting place ensures that you will know if everyone has gotten out of the house safely. Meeting near the front sidewalk also enables you to flag down the firefighters when they arrive.
It is important to NEVER go back into the home once you get outside. Do not go back to rescue your valuables, or even your pet. Many people have gotten seriously or fatally injured going back after escaping from a burning building. Wait for the firefighters and let them know if there is anyone still inside. You may also wish to obtain a window sticker for your home which will let firefighters know in advance if there are pets inside, in case your home catches fire while you’re away.
Do not take the time to call the fire department before you escape. You can call 9-1-1 after you get out!
Safety Before A Fire
You have your escape plan which is mighty important. Things to do that goes along with an escape plan are:
- It is best to have a smoke alarm in every room. If you have just one smoke alarm, mount the one smoke alarm on the ceiling near the bedrooms.
- Test the smoke alarm, usually by pressing a button on the smoke alarm once a month.
- Change the batteries of smoke alarms once a year.
- Practice your escape plan periodically. Have a live drill once a year. This should involve the whole family.
- Keep escape routes clear throughout the home. Don’t store anything in or near a route.
- Make sure windows are maintained and work easily. These could be needed when a main escape route is blocked.
What to Do In Case of Fire
Roll off the bed and crawl near the floor. Heat and smoke rises. Good air is near the floor. Crawl to the door and feel the door before opening it. If the door is cool, it is safe to open the door and proceed along your escape route. Otherwise you must use your alternate route.
Go to the meeting spot by the front sidewalk. Notify the fire department after you’re safely outside. Then stay until the fire department arrives and tell them all you know about the fire. Stay back and let the firefighters put out the fire.