6 Things to Consider When Creating a Fire Escape Plan
Home fires are scary and spread extremely quickly, so every second counts. Protect your home and family by developing a fire escape plan, and prepare yourself for how to respond in an emergency. For more information on how to prepare yourself and your family for disasters, visit ready.gov.
1. Ensure Reliable Alerts
Having working smoke detectors in your home is one of the most important things you can do to practice fire safety for you and your family. You should place at least one on every floor of your home, including the basement, and one in each bedroom. Keep the devices working by replacing batteries twice per year and testing them monthly. Never disable your smoke alarm for cooking.
Ensure that members of your household each recognize the sound of the alarm and understand what it means. For individuals who may be hearing or visually impaired, consider getting a smoke detector with a vibrating pad or strobe lights.
2. Map Out an Escape Route
Next, map out the escape routes from each area inside your home. It’s a good idea to identify two ways to get out of each room, in case one exit is compromised by flames, heat, or structural failure. Make sure that the windows in your home aren’t jammed and that screens can be easily removed.
3. Involve the Kids
If you have children, it’s important to involve them in your fire escape plan. Home fires are scary experiences, so you should teach them the importance of not hiding from firefighters, as well as common fire wisdom like crawling along the floor in smoke-filled rooms and “stop, drop, and roll” in case of clothing catching fire. Make sure they understand your plan and can take the escape route on their own.
1. Practice Your Plan
Once you have your fire escape plan set, practice it together twice per year to keep everyone’s memories fresh and to avoid confusion. Consider practicing feeling your way to the outside of your home with your eyes closed.
2. Safeguard Important Documents
Part of the devastation of home fires is dealing with the aftermath and all the personal possessions that are lost. Make digital copies of important documents like birth certificates, marriage licenses, and property deeds and store them safely online or on a fireproof hard drive. You may want to back up family photos as well.
3. Keep a Fire Extinguisher
Attain a fire extinguisher and keep it in your home in case of an emergency. Most likely, you’ll want to put it in the kitchen, since cooking fires are more frequent than fires in other parts of the home. Learn how to use it.
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