In a home fire when smoke alarms sound, you can’t be uncertain of where to go or what to do. If you don’t have a predetermined Home Fire Escape Plan when those alarms sound, it’s too late! Take the time now to make a home fire escape plan that protects your family from serious injury or worse.
Think about the building you are currently in right now. You probably leave this building the same way whenever you exit. But, if that way was blocked, would you know where to go? How would you feel if you weren’t sure where to go to get out? Most likely, that feeling would be unsettling, and especially in the event of an emergency like a fire. When the smoke alarm sounds, you don’t want to feel that way—you want to have a plan.
The National Fire Protection Association says:
“Fire escape plans are important for all homes. Whether your building has one floor or 50, it is important that you and your family are ready to respond to a fire alarm. Everyone needs to know what to do and where to go if there is a fire… People often get nervous if there is an emergency but if you make a plan and practice it, then you will know exactly what to do if there is a fire.”
Make Your Home Fire Escape Plan
Now that we are spending more time at home than ever before, now is a perfect time to work together with those you love and live with to create a fire escape plan and memorize it (or review it if you already have one!). Here is what you need to know in order to make your plan:
Two ways out of every room in your apartment or home.
Know where all available exit stairs from your floor.
Clearly understand all available exits in your building.
Determine an outside meeting place where everyone will meet. An outside meeting place, maybe a corner or street light, should be a safe distance in front of your building, and everyone needs to know to get there so your family knows you are out of the building. Once everone is out and accounted for, no one should go back into the building for any reason!
For those who live in an apartment building, the following information is especially important to keep in mind:
“Many buildings have an evacuation plan. The plan should show what the residents are supposed to do if there is an emergency. It should be posted in places where everyone can see and review it. The building management should have a fire drill with residents at least once a year. Be sure to take part in your building fire drills. Also, remember to “use the stairs to get out. You should never use the elevator unless you are directed to by the fire department. Make sure to practice using the stairs as part of your escape plan. If someone in your family has difficulty climbing down steps, make sure to include a contingency for this into your plan.”
Practice your Home Fire Escape Plan
Regularly have a home fire drill, and occasionally plan one at night. Don’t forget to practice some alternative home fire escape routes. Also, make sure everyone in your home participates they all know what to do when it’s needed. Finally, don’t forget to tell your babysitter about the escape plans and consider having them participate in a fire drill with you.
Teach Your Children
Have each child sleep with their bedroom door closed. This protects them from a potential fire speading into their room. Next, if a smoke alarm goes off, have them first check the temperature of their door handle by quickly touching it. If it is hot, they should never open that door, and immediately use their alternate escape route. Make sure they can easily open their bedrooom window, push out remove the screen, and get to the ground and the “safe spot” quickly and safely. If the window is too high, make sure you have a rope ladder they can hook up by themselves and then climb down. Regualrly practice setting up that ladder and using it so they don’t hesitate when they need to get out.
At FireAvert, we hope you will take the time to create a Home Fire Escape Plan or review yours if you already have one. As we’ve all learned during this pandemic, preparation is so important and can make all the difference when an unexpected event occurs like a home fire. We hope you and your family stay safe, healthy, and well prepared!