In the event of a house fire, you only have a few minutes–seconds, in some cases–to get out of the home safely. According to the US Fire Administration, it only takes 30 seconds or less for a small flame to get out of control and turn into a major fire. In just a matter of minutes, the house will become engulfed in flames.
Escape plans are crucial so that you and your family can get out quickly in case the unfortunate happens. It is advisable to practice it with everyone in your house, including members with disability. Consider the following tips when preparing an escape plan:
Creating the Plan
Draw a map of your home with all the doors and windows. Map out the different ways to get out of each room and make sure that all windows and doors that lead outside can be opened easily. Everyone in the household should understand the plan.
If a fire breaks out, take the safest exit way. If you need to escape through the smoke, keep your mouth covered and crawl low. Smoke contains toxic gases, which can disorient you and make it difficult to get out of the house.
Alarms and Extinguisher
Install interconnected smoke alarms in each bedroom and on every level of your home. Fire safety experts and FireFoeUS.com suggest having a fire extinguisher at home to put out small flames or suppress it until the fire department arrives. Make sure to understand how it works and how to use it.
Designate an outside meeting place a safe distance from home. You can meet at a specific tree, for instance, or at the end of a sidewalk to ensure that every family member has gotten out safely. Make sure that everyone has local emergency numbers memorized.
Get Out and Stay Out
In case of fire, escape first, and then call the fire department. Don’t go back into the house for whatever reason. If a family member is missing or your pets are trapped inside, inform the fire fighters immediately.
The key to safety lies in planning and practicing the escape plan at least twice a year. Start determining the exit routes in your home and make sure that those are unblocked and can be used safely by every member.