So you’ve installed smoke detectors in your home and have been remembering to test them every month. We applaud you for taking the time to make your home extra safe and protected from the dangers of fire! But, what about an escape plan? Do you know how you and your family will safely exit your home, in the unfortunate event of a fire, and where you will meet outside to be sure that everyone is away from danger and safe and sound?
Having an escape plan is just as important to the safety of the residents in your home as installing smoke detectors. It is one of the most important elements of an in home fire safety plan and can save the lives of everyone in your household. Developing a well-organized plan and making sure everyone knows what to do in case of fire can add precious seconds or even minutes to escape time.
Here are some pointers on how to develop and execute an effective escape plan for you and your loved ones.
- Draw out the basic floor plan of your home with doors, windows and any other exits included. This should be clear enough for small children to understand. Even a child as young as three years old can learn and carry out an escape plan if it is learned and practiced.
- Try to map out at least 2 ways out for each room where someone is sleeping, as well for main exits and entryways. Make sure these exits are mapped out clearly on your diagram in red or another bold color.
- Include a meeting place outside of the house for everyone to make their way to once they are outside of the home. This place should be a safe distance from any possible fire but easy to get to.
- Use the Fire Escape Plan Grid we have provided here, to make planning your escape easier and be sure to include the phone number for your local fire department on every copy of your escape plan.
Once your fire escape plan has been mapped out, it’s time to practice it with your entire family. Here are some tips on making the learning process easier for everyone in the home, especially children.
Practice your escape plan at least twice a year to ensure that everyone knows what to do and where to go, in the event of a fire.
- Teach everyone to always check closed doors for excessive heat before opening them. This indicates that the fire is on the other side of the door and an alternate escape route must be used.
- Make sure children know that if smoke is present, they should crawl below it and stay low as they exit the home, in order to prevent smoke inhalation.
- Children should be taught not to fear or hide from firefighters. Make sure they know that firefighters are there to help them get safely away from fire and smoke.
- All year round, keep exits clear and free from clutter and keep children’s bedroom doors closed at night. A closed door can block hallway fire smoke from entering a child’s room and give firefighters more time to rescue them.
A well thought out fire escape plan can make the difference between life and death when a home fire occurs. Make sure you and your loved ones are ready and prepared to avert tragedy by drawing up your plan, today.