Escape Planning: Don’t get caught with your pants down
Waking up to smoke and fire can be extremely terrifying. In those precious seconds someone has to make decisions that can result in life or death. It is for this reason that a home escape plan is recommended. Having and practicing a home escape plan greatly increases your chances for survival. The National Fire Protection Association contributes many survival stories to advanced warning from smoke alarm and advanced planning.
Here are a few tips for an escape plan in case you ever find yourself in this predicament:
- When putting together your escape plan make sure to include everyone in the house hold to ensure that the whole team is on the same page. Walk through your home and explore all the possible escape routes and exits. Mark two ways out of each room and remember to include windows and doors in your escape routes.
- Smoke alarms are life savers! Install them in every bedroom, as well as your kitchen, basement and hallways. Make sure to install smoke detectors at room level to ensure early detection. If possible install smoke detectors that are interconnected. This way when one sounds they all sound.
- Make sure all exit doors and windows are easily accessible and that they can be easily opened.
- Make sure to make your home address readable. You want emergency responders to be able to easily identify your home. Get rid of any shrubbery or items that may be blocking your home address.
- Agree on a meeting place a safe distance from the home where the family will re-unite once outside.( street corner, a light post, a mail box or a neighbor’s home are good examples)
- Everyone from the household should have the phone number to the local fire department memorized. First person to reach the meeting place should call the fire department from a neighbor’s home, a cell phone or a pay phone.
- Assign infants and elderly people to a member of the household ensuring that someone will help them to safety. Have a backup as well in case the designee is not home during the emergency.
- Make sure to install emergency release devices to any doors or windows that might have security bars. This will ensure a smooth exit during times of trouble.
- Be fully prepared for a real life fire. Once you hear smoke detectors go off proceed to plan making sure to check doors to see if fire is on the other side.
- Make sure to keep low and to close doors behind you on your way out to ensure that fire does not spread too quickly.
- Most importantly once you’re out stay out! The concern for your loved ones is enough to make anyone want to go back in to help but the truth is a well trained escape plan gives you better odds to surviving than running back into a fire. Remember, fire fighters have the skills and equipment needed to combat fires and save lives.
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