Having a home fire plan that everyone in your family understands can be the difference between life and death in case of an emergency. Sit down with our family today and make an easy step-by-step plan for escaping the home in case of a fire because once a fire starts, there is NO time to plan how to get out.
PLAN YOUR ESCAPE
Draw a floor Plan of your Home, marking two ways out of every room - especially sleeping areas. Discuss the escape routes with every member of your household.
Agree on a Meeting Place, where every member of the household will gather outside your home after escaping a fire to wait for the fire department. This allows you to count heads and inform the fire department if anyone is missing or trapped inside the burning building.
Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Have a fire drill in your home and make everybody participate so that if a fire happens, each family member will be familiar with the plan. This is very important in helping young children learn how to react in case of an alarm. Remember, a fire drill is not a race, so get out quickly, but carefully.
MAKE YOUR EXIT DRILL REALISTIC
Make sure everyone in the household can unlock all doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Pretend that some exits are blocked by fire, and try to practice a second escape route from each room. Pretend that the lights are out and that some escape routes are filling with smoke, and try to get out of the house by ‘feeling’ your way out.
If you live in an apartment building, use stairways to escape. NEVER use an elevator during a fire.
If you live in a multi-story house and you must escape from an upper story window, be sure there is a safe way to reach the ground, such as a fire-resistant fire escape ladder. Make special arrangements for children, older adults and people with disabilities.
Test doors before opening them.
When you come to a closed door, kneel down and reach up as high as you can and with the back of your hand touch the door, the knob, and the crack between the door and its frame. If it feels hot, use another escape route. If the door feels cool, open it slowly. If you have heat and smoke come in through the door, close it and use your alternate escape route.
If you are trapped, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the doors to keep out smoke. Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight or by waving a light colored cloth. If there is a phone in the room, call 911 and report exactly where you are.
GET OUT FAST . . .
In case of a fire, don't stop for anything. Remember, smoke contains deadly gases, and heat rises. During a fire, cleaner air will be near the floor. If you encounter smoke when using your primary exit, use an alternative escape route. If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches above the floor.
Once you are out of the house, STAY OUT. Do not try to rescue possessions or pets, and do not go back into the house for any reason. Go directly to your meeting place, and then call the fire department from a neighbor's phone or a cell phone. If people are trapped, the firefighters have the best chance of rescuing them. The heat and smoke of a fire are overpowering, but firefighters have the training, experience, and protective equipment needed to enter burning buildings.