Every household should have a plan in case of an emergency. If your house catches fire, your family needs to know how to escape with your home’s most valuable contents: their lives. Be prepared with these tips on creating a safe and efficient fire safety plan.
Have a Family Meeting
Gather the members of your family together and talk about what would happen if a fire were to occur. Discuss the importance of remaining calm and getting out of the house immediately. Identify possible challenges or problems that would slow your escape. Describe what sounds and smells should alert them of a fire. Have them imagine what a sudden escape would be like during the day and at night when everyone is asleep. Point out and test each smoke detector so that everyone recognizes the sound of the alarm.
Map Your Home
Draw a floorplan of your home that identifies all windows, doors, and exits of each room. Assign a primary exit to each family member. This should be the quickest and closest exit to their room. Also, designate an alternate route in case their primary exit becomes blocked.
Know Your Ways Out
Identify all possible exits and escape routes. Walk through your home and check that the doorways are free of clutter and all windows and doors can easily be opened and closed. Family members with mobility issues will need help during an evacuation, so assign someone to assist the young or elderly out of the house. You should also teach children how to escape on their own in case you’re unable to help them.
Choose a Meeting Place
Designate an area outside your home for your family to meet after they’ve escaped. Make sure it’s a safe distance from the house — like a neighbor’s home, mailbox, or light post — and mark the location on your safety plan.
Once safely out of the house, someone needs to contact the fire department from a cell phone or neighbor’s home. Teach your children how to dial 9-1-1 but be sure to explain that they should only do so in the event of an emergency. Also, make sure your street number is clearly visible from the road so that emergency responders can find your home.
Get Out and Stay Out
Stress the importance of getting to safety and remaining there. No one should ever go back into a burning building. If a person or a pet is missing from your meeting place, call out their name — they may have escaped on the other side of the house. Remind your family to contact authorities and wait for the firefighters to arrive instead of performing any rescue attempts.
Rehearse Your Plan
Practicing your safety plan twice a year will keep everyone one step ahead of the flames. Have everyone rehearse their escape route until they’ve memorized each twist and turn toward safety. The thick smoke from a house fire is not only toxic, but it can be blinding. When you do your fire drill, have everyone practice their exit on their hands and knees as if they’re crawling under the smoke. Ideally, your escape should be rehearsed until it can be performed blindfolded.
While it won’t prevent a fire from occurring, a solid fire safety plan will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire. Fire safety and detection starts with a quality smoke alarm. If you are unsure of the effectiveness of the smoke detectors in your home, call CSG today at 407-814-0225 for a professional smoke alarm recommendation.