One of the most important things we can do is have a detailed fire evacuation plan and more importantly have you rehearsed it?
Rehearsing your fire evacuation plan is vital and preparing your family for this emergency can be life saving. It only takes a couple minutes for rehearse emergency drills a few times a year. Small price to pay to be safe!
Make Sure It Works
Start with having a route planned out for everyone. Check to make sure those routes are the best routes to get you out safely. For example, if you have an elderly loved one in your home, could they make it down the stairs quickly; especially with smoke in the air? Going through the plan step by step can help aid in evaluating your plan to see how quickly and safely everyone in your household could get out in case of an emergency. Hallways and paths to windows should remain clear at all time.
Ensure Everyone Knows Their Role
Everyone needs to know their role during an emergency to ensure safety. For instance, if there are small children in the house, who will make sure they are accounted for? If you have elderly loved ones living with you, who will make sure they are getting out? If an older child is sleeping in the same room as their younger siblings they could be responsible for waking the young ones and keeping them calm while exiting the house. If there are more than one adult in the home one adult can make sure everyone is awake and has a clear path while another adult might be in charge of guiding an aging loved one to prevent them from falling.
Practice Prevents Panic
While fear is inevitable, panic occurs when no one knows what to do. Make sure you and members of your family are rehearsing the evacuation plan, this will ensure that everyone knows their role in getting out safely. Once outside they will also know where to meet up. The more this is practiced the more confident you will be knowing your family can get out quickly if it were ever needed. One child dies every day from home fires, it is vital to make sure we take the time to go over this several times a year.
Most rooms only have one door, but you need at least two ways out during a fire. For most bedrooms, this means going out a window. For first story windows, this isn’t a problem, but second story windows require a ladder. Rehearsing the plan allows you to test any equipment in action to ensure it works properly, such as making sure windows raise smoothly and collapsible ladders roll out smoothly.
It’s also a good way to teach everyone how to use equipment. The last thing you want is to have someone trapped and discover they don’t know how to unlock the window or secure the ladder to climb down.
Your plan seems sound, but how long does it take to execute? If everyone’s awake, it’s easier to get out quickly. In the middle of the night, everyone’s asleep and getting out fast becomes more difficult. Drills are necessary to boost speed. When a fire happens, you may only have minutes to get to safety. The American Red Cross recommends practicing until everyone can get out in under two minutes.
Drills should happen day and night to practice both types of scenarios. Though 62% of Americans believe they have up to five minutes to escape, fire experts state that you may only have a few minutes at most.
Less than 20% of families throughout the United States with children 17 and under practice fire evacuation plans. Help you and the members of your family be prepared to escape safely in the event of a fire. Practicing your plan can mean the difference between life and death.
Ready to teach your kids more about fire safety? Let Safety Education Alliance’s fire safety guides help you prepare your little ones today.
*image courtesy of The U.S. Army