Why it's Important to Have a Fire Evacuation Plan
We hear a lot about smoke detectors. They are VERY important in a home safety plan. But do not forget the full Fire Evacuation Plan.
Recently, a house in my hometown caught fire. The fire was intense and the fire department was unable to save the house. The fire happened in the middle of the night, with working smoke alarms, but unfortunately not everyone in the house made it out unharmed.
This brings me to the main reason for this topic. As my wife and I discussed the recent fire and how the smoke detectors save people’s lives, we both realized that a FULL PLAN of escape is necessary. My children grew up with a baseball bat at their bedroom window. I told them in an emergency do not hesitate to break out that window and escape. So, when was the last time you and your family practiced an evacuation drill? Maybe, it has been awhile. Please do not put this off any longer. The main point is, it’s easy to forget about your overall evacuation plan. Please, take a few minutes and go over a Complete Fire Evacuation Plan with your family.
- A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
- Everyone in the household must understand the escape plan. When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.
- Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
- Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.
- Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor's home or a cellular phone once safely outside.
- If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a backup person too, in case the designee is not home during the emergency.
- If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Emergency release devices won't compromise your security - but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
- Tell guests or visitors to your home about your family's fire escape plan.
- Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately.
- Once you're out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.