The fall brings exciting new activities. And, with kids back in school, you can be sure that they are conducting fire drills with their classmates. The NFPA estimates that only one third of American households practiced a home fire escape plan. In the event your family experiences a home fire, you may only have minutes to escape. With adequate planning and preparedness, you can ensure that your family knows what to do get out safely.
- Smoke Alarms
In order to get out of your home quickly, family members need to know that there is a fire. Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside each sleeping area and outside each sleeping area. Smoke detectors should be interconnected – when one sounds, they all sound. Additionally, consider central station monitoring for your fire devices so the fire department can be notified automatically in the event of an alarm. Be sure to test your smoke detectors monthly.
- Plan Your Escape
Identify every exit from your home and try to establish two clear paths from every sleeping area. Draw a diagram of your home and mark the exits from each location. If your home has two floors, ensure that all family members can escape from the second floor. Since children may not awaken when alarms sound, assign someone to help them during a fire.
- Choose an Outside Meeting Place
Locate an area that is a safe distance from your home as an outside meeting place. Whether you decide to meet at a light post, your mailbox, or a neighbor’s front porch, mark your location on your escape plan and ensure all family members know where to go.
- Fire Drill
Twice a year, conduct a family fire drill. Make the drill as realistic as possible. Sound your fire alarm, escape through your various escape routes, and meet at your designated meeting place. Conducting a fire drill at night is a great way to practice fire safety in the dark and ensure that children wake up to the sound of the alarm. You may want to tell your kids before bed that there will be a fire drill overnight to avoid frightening them.
- A Real Fire Emergency
In the event of a real fire, you may only have a few minutes to get out. So, put your plan into action and get out of the home. Once outside, stay outside. Call the fire department from your cell phone or a neighbor’s phone. Never go back inside for any reason.
Home fires present a real danger for our families. But, with a fire escape plan and regular fire drills, your family can be prepared and have the tools to stay safe in the event of a fire.