Does your family have a fire escape plan if your home is on fire? Many people make poor decisions when fire breaks out. They be affected by smoke, disoriented by being awakened abruptly and frightened. If you and your family have planned your escape and practiced the plan, you will be better prepared to make wise choices that lead to a safe and successful escape.
Draw a Floor Plan
Start by drawing a floor plan of your home. Be thorough. Include windows, doors, outdoor features and possible obstacles in your drawing. Know at least two ways out of each room.
Learn Your Escape Routes and Keep Them Clear
Walk through the primary and alternative escape routes, making sure all exits are accessible to all members of your household. Be sure that windows in your home are not painted shut or blocked, and do not have a screwed-on screen or storm window that can't be opened from the inside. Have your children practice opening the windows.
Go to a Meeting Place
Choose a spot away from your home where all members of the household will meet after they have escaped from the fire. Be sure to mark the meeting place on your floor plan.
Get Out and Stay Out
During a real life fire, DO NOT go back into your home for any reason until the fire department says it is safe. Discourage anyone from going back into the burning building to attempt to rescue people or pets or to retrieve possessions.
Teach Children What to Do in a Fire
Too often after a fire, bodies of children are found in closets or under beds where they tried to hide. Fire and smoke are frightening, and the impulse to hide from them is natural. Teach your children that they must escape from a fire and never hide. Create your escape plan with your children, and practice it often so they learn the plan well.
It is best if each child knows how to escape in case of fire as soon as he or she is able to do so.
Each child in your household should know how to call 9-1-1. Make sure to teach them how to call the number, and when and where to call. You should always escape first, and then call 911 from a neighbor's house or cell phone.
Tips to Remember
- Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
- Try an unannounced drill to make the experience as realistic as possible.
- Make sure everyone in your home knows the sound of your smoke alarm.
- In a real fire, you must be prepared to move quickly, carefully and calmly. Don't let your exit drill become a race.
- Make sure everyone knows exactly what to do. Don't run.
- Vary your drill by pretending some escape routes are blocked.
- Since the majority of fatal home fires start when people are asleep, practice your escape plan by having each member of your household wait in his or her sleeping area for the monitor to sound the alarm.
- Start by coaching your children, but remember that your goal is to teach them to escape without your help.
Information Source: National Fire Protection Association
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