Fire moves fast! According to www.ready.gov, a small flame can turn into a major fire in less than 30 seconds and smoke can spread quickly at a pace of 120-240 feet-per-minute. In fires, seconds count, which is why families should be prepared before a fire and have an escape plan that includes two different routes.
Here are seven steps to planning and practicing your escape plan in the case of a fire:
- Create a map of your home, including all windows.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of all the different ways you can escape if you need to. Take time to sit down and draw a map of your home and how you can move throughout the home in the event of a fire. Study the map and become familiar with the locations of windows, doors and the best way to move through the house.
- Find two ways out of every room.
Though not always possible, such as the case of a windowless powder room, identify at least two ways out of each room. In rooms that have windows, make sure the windows are operable and easy to open in case of emergency. For rooms on the second floor of a home, consider investing in a safety ladder that can be used to safely get down from a roof.
- Make sure windows and doors are not blocked.
Windows and doors provide the easiest, quickest and safest exit from a home. Be sure windows and doors are clear and not blocked by heavy furniture or other items. It may take more time than you have to try to move furniture with flames and smoke in the house.
- Choose an outside meeting place in front of your home.
When creating your fire escape plan, choose a location outside the house for all family members to meet. This location should be a safe distance from the house. Being able to account for all family members can help put your mind at ease, and if someone is unable to meet because they are still in the home, you can share this information with the emergency responders so they know how many people may be inside.
- Push the test button to sound the smoke alarm!
Do you know what your smoke alarm sounds like? When you are creating your escape plan, test each smoke alarm to make sure it works and to familiarize yourself with the sound! Small children may be scared of the noise; however, it is important to share with them if they hear that noise, to get out of the house.
- Practice your drill with everyone in the home.
Now that you have a plan in place, it is time to practice. Press the alarm and practice your plan! Everyone should take the drill seriously, and pretend there is a real fire or threat.
- Get outside to your meeting place.
Once you’ve started your drill, everyone should get outside to your designated meeting place. Make sure everyone is accounted for and discuss any challenges you may have discovered with your plan. Did everyone get out quickly? Were there obstacles in the home that made it difficult to leave quickly? You can practice more than once to make sure everyone is prepared.
Dale E. Anstine’s personal injury attorneys encourage everyone to create a fire escape plan. Every second counts – find two ways out! Help us spread the word for National Fire Prevention Week and share with your loved ones who may benefit from these safety tips and reminders.
Our experienced team of personal injury attorneys at Dale E. Anstine are here when you need them, and you can reach out at any time for a free consultation. Our firm is proud to protect the injured across the Central Pennsylvania community, with offices in York and Gettysburg.