Does your family know what to do if the smoke alarm sounds? Once they start, fires spread rapidly and may leave you with only a minute or two to get out safely. Get together all members of your household and create your emergency escape plan, then practice it at least twice a year. Here are a few tips to help your family create your emergency escape plan:
- Using a floor plan of your home mark two ways out of each room, the location of all smoke detectors, and your family meeting place.
- Smoke detectors can give you an early warning that something is wrong and more time to get out. Install detectors on each level of your home and outside each sleeping area.
- Interconnect your smoke detectors so that when one sounds, they all sound.
- Choose a meeting place outside that is a safe distance from your home where everyone can meet after escaping. Choose a location like a neighbor’s house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign.
- Make sure that your home’s address number is clearly visible from the road so emergency services can locate you as fast as possible.
- If your family has infants, elderly adults, or anyone with mobility issues assign an escape partner for that individual. This ensures that those who cannot help themselves have some to assist them in escaping.
- Once you’re out, stay out! Do not ever go back into a burning building under any circumstances. If someone is missing, immediately inform the fire department dispatcher when you call.
Test Your Escape Plan
- Practice at least twice a year, making the drill as real as possible.
- Allow children to become comfortable with your escape plan before holding a night time fire drill.
- Determine if everyone is easily woken up by the sound of the smoke detector. Heavy sleepers should have a family member assigned to wake them up in the event of an emergency.
- Make sure everyone knows how to get low and avoid smoke while escaping.
- If your home has two floors, everyone should be able to escape from the upper levels. Practice using escape or safety ladders on the first floor to ensure that everyone can deploy it.
Clear Your Escape Routes
Clutter can make escaping your home in an emergency that much harder. Getting out quickly can mean the difference between life and death. Make sure all hallways and doorways are not blocked by furniture, personal belongings, or storage items. Make sure any doors or windows with security bars also have an emergency release device installed so you can still exit. If your home has an windows or doors secured with padlocks, nails, or paint, remove them! These security solutions could end up hurting you in the event of an emergency.