If you don’t have a fire escape plan that includes all of the essentials that make up the ultimate fire escape plan – get started with these easy to follow steps to keep everyone in your home safe.
You won’t always be there to do the things you may have thought about so it’s important that each member of the household participate – young and old.
Get everyone together and have them all help in the planning stages. This will not only bring multiple minds together but also help everyone remember the plan if the time comes to put it into action. Map out your home complete with all windows, doors, or possible exits. Also, mark the location of each smoke detector in the home.
During the planning, note the missing smoke detectors. Closed doors can prevent smoke detection within a room that does not have one for far too long. If there are not detectors outside of every room in your house, as well as, one inside each sleeping room – add them to your shopping list.
They should be located on every floor of your home and should be inter-connected (which is now required by NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code) so that when one alarm sounds, they all sound.
Next, choose a meeting place outdoors. Pick any place outside your home as long it is a safe distance from the home that everyone can meet at when they escape. Mark this location on the map of your home you created in step one.
For every infant, or older adult with mobility limitations, there should be an assigned person, as well as a backup to assist them in the event of an emergency. The backup person will likely be aware when the primary person is home or not and should be instructed to only help the person they’ve been assigned to when the primary is away.
Safety Measures and Precautions
Everyone in your home should know or memorize the emergency number to call in the event of a fire. Practice the number and be sure they all know the number – but only to call after they have escaped.
If they are too young to have a mobile phone and won’t have access to a portable phone at all times, instruct them to go to a neighbor(s) that you designate to phone for help and return immediately to the meeting place if they are the first person out.
If your home is equipped with security bars, ensure they have emergency release devices installed. These devices will not make you less safe – but they will increase your odds of escaping a room or home. Be sure everyone knows how to use them as well.
Everyone in the home should also know that once they are out – STAY OUT. Call for help and it will arrive, but under no circumstances should they re-enter the home. For those that live in apartment buildings, your escape plan may differ. We’ll cover that in our next article as oftentimes, it may be best to stay and defend until help arrives.
Practice makes perfect. Once you have a plan in place, practice it at least twice per year and more often if you have young children or older adults in the home who are more apt to forget things.
If you haven’t read our article about teaching your children to not play with fire – cover these topics as well during the making of your ultimate fire escape plan.