How to Make a Fire Escape Plan for Your Home Safety

Everyone should have a fire escape plan for your home. I also recommend running a fire drill at least once a month. I would do it once a week until I was clear that everyone in the home understood their role in the plan.. And I don’t mean just run them in the daytime, I would do one at 3 am or so and wake everyone up and make them do the drill. There is much more confusion when people are awakened from a sound sleep. Also draw maps for each room showing the closest exit from that room, and hang them on the wall .

First thing to do is make sure you have smoke detectors and test them often. Make sure you keep fresh batteries in them. Make sure a smoke alarm will wake up everyone. Some people are such heavy sleepers that they will sleep through it. If you have someone in your home that is that way, assign somebody to wake them up. Also if you have kids or an infant too young to get out of the house on their own assign somebody to take them. Make sure it’s known whose responsibility it is to get the kids. Do the same for any elderly or handicapped adults who may not be able to get out unassisted.

Make sure everyone knows the ways out and not to walk or run, but to crawl if the home is full of smoke. Smoke rises, it’s safer to be on the floor. Set up a meeting spot a safe distance from the home. Tell everyone to meet at the mail box or at the end of the driveway so you can account for them. If you have guests staying over, inform them of the fire escape plan and where to meet you so you know they are ok. If you stay at someone else’s home, ask about their fire escape plan, if they don’t have one, help them make one.

If you have pets I recommend they staying outside at night weather permitting. If that is not an option, leave the door open if you have to exit the house in case of fire. They will probably run out. Unless you can grab them on the way out, I wouldn’t go looking for them. Pets no matter how much we love them are not worth a human life.

I also wouldn’t advise running around in the house trying to grab valuables these too are not worth getting killed over. You can get various sized fireproof safes and boxes for a decent price. I recommend putting anything valuable in these, as well as family heirlooms and picture albums. You can always put important papers in a safety deposit box at your bank for a small fee. Make sure you have a couple of fire extinguishers in the house, especially in the kitchen. You can sometimes put out a small fire or at least slow it down while others escape. But keep in mind you won’t put out a big fire with one and you shouldn’t risk your life trying to.

Make sure your house number is visible from the road. If you don’t have any, get some they are very helpful for emergency workers to find your house. The quicker they find you the quicker they can help you. Plus they help delivery drivers find your house when they are bringing you something. (Yes I am a FedEx Driver so that is dear to my heart) If your home is difficult to find for any reason, go to the local fire department. Give them your name, address and detailed directions to your home. They will be glad to make a note of it, in case it’s ever needed. A visible house number will also help police or paramedics find your home in other emergency situations.

If you have security bars on your windows, make sure they are the quick release type that even a kid can open so they can escape from the window. Make sure the kids can open their windows if that is their escape route. Make sure they know their options; a door will often be blocked by the fire. Teach them to sleep with the door shut and to feel it for heat before opening it, and not to open the door if it feels hot. Make sure there are no toys or other objects between their bed and the windows.
If a smoke alarm does go off, don’t waste time seeing why, even if its just malfunctioning it’s better to go ahead and get out of the house to be on the safe side. If there is a fire and everyone gets out, don’t go back into the house. Lot’s of people die trying to save some material item, or pet after they had already gotten out of the home.

Please be careful this winter, lots of fires occur due to heaters going bad, or something catching the Christmas Tree on fire. Make sure if it’s a real tree to give it plenty of water to keep it from drying up. Everyone be safe and while I hope you never have to use your fire escape plan, I hope you have one just in case its needed.

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