How to create your fire escape plan

Author: D16 March 13, 2014

Do you and your family have a fire escape plan? If not, it’s more than something you should consider, it’s an absolute must to make sure you are ready in the event of a house fire.

Remember, every second counts. In less than 30 seconds, even a small flame can become a major fire. Within moments, a home can be filled with smoke, engulfed in flames.

Fires cause fear and panic. Do you really want to be figuring out how to evacuate your family when the building is burning around you?

The best way to survive a fire is with advanced warning and a clear plan, mapped out and practiced in advance.

Obviously, fire prevention is a top priority also, and before or after you have your fire escape plan in place,  check out our last blog on fire prevention for some great ideas (http://bit.ly/16irH6R). For now, start mapping out a fire escape plan with these ideas and tips:

(photo from www.usfa.fema.gov)

 

1) PLAN

Coordinate your fire evacuation plan with everyone in the family and household. And make sure everyone understands the plan. Draw up a floor plan, especially if you have children in the house. The U.S. Fire Administration offers this free .pdf (http://1.usa.gov/QhCZT7) to help parents and children create their fire escape plan. The National Fire Prevention Association also recommends that smoke alarms be marked on the map of the plan.

In the plan, according to the USFA website, mark two ways out of each room, including the windows and doors. Walk through your home and inspect all the exits and escape routes, making sure each route is clear of debris.

Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of the home where everyone can meet. Make sure the location is marked on the escape plan. Also, take a good look at your street number. If it’s not clearly visible from the road, paint it on a curb or install house numbers so emergency personnel won’t struggle to find your home.

Teach everyone fire safety tips. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends tips such as: If you come to a closed door, feel the doorknob and door to make sure a fire is not on the other side; if you can’t get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks to keep smoke out then call 911; make sure everyone knows emergency numbers.

2) SMOKE ALARMS

It’s critical that you alert to a fire immediately. Remember, you don’t have a lot of time so it’s imperative you can react quickly. Statistics show a working smoke alarm can double your chances of survival.

The National Fire Prevention Association recommends you install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.

Make sure you have a working smoke alarm, better yet have more than one in different areas of the house. They’re not expensive (starting at around $9) and are available at most hardware and discount stores.

Don’t just buy a smoke alarm and forget about it. Test it monthly, mark a date on the calendar every month so you don’t forget. Also, keep them free of dust and replace the battery at least once a year. Smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years or as recommended by the manufacturer.

 

 

(photo from okanaganchild.com)

PRACTICE

It’s not only important to practice your fire drill once you have it in place, you should practice it every once in a while to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind.

Practice your escape plan twice a year and make it as realistic as possible. Designate someone to time your evacuation so you can gauge, and improve on, how well you execute the plan. Also, practice it at night and day. If some members of the family don’t respond to the alarms quick enough or don’t even wake up, assign someone to get them moving.

If your home has two floors, make sure everyone can escape from the second floor. If not, escape ladders are a good idea. They can be placed near windows for another escape route.

 

Having a fire escape plan is so important for you and your family. And, if the unfortunate happens, know that Swartz Contracting and Emergency Services will help your family repair the propery damages immediately. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call us today at 419-331-1024 or 800-462-1024.

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Sources: Swartz Contracting and Emergency Services, The U.S. Fire Administration and The National Fire Prevention Association.