Families with a fire escape plan are more likely to ensure that all family members are able to get to safety in the event of a fire. Without a plan, family members will not know how to get out the house in an orderly fashion. Statistics show that people often have less than two minutes to escape during a fire emergency, so those two minutes are crucial.
Follow these steps to form a fire escape plan for your family. You can learn more about developing fire escape plans by visiting the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) website.
Know two ways out
Fires most often begin in the kitchen, but they can start anywhere within the home. Knowing more than one way to get out of the house means that everyone knows what to do if an escape route is blocked.
Draw a map of your house
Develop a detailed map of your home and escape routes. You can use a grid or whatever method works for your family to ensure that everyone knows the way out. Some rooms should be avoided when it comes to escaping from a fire. Knowing the layout of the house will also make it easier to adapt your fire escape route if all other avenues have been blocked.
Practice fire drills
Fire drills are not just for schools. Part of the fire escape plan requires that the family practices the escape routes. Do different scenarios so that you know what to do if something happens. It is much better to be over-prepared than to not be prepared at all.
Include your pets in the fire escape plan
Your pets should be part of your fire escape plan. How will you rescue your cat or dog if a fire happens? Figure out how you would safely rescue the pet and practice during fire drills. Some animals will run and hide during a fire, so you need to know what to do if that happens.
Teach children how to escape on their own
You might not be near your children when a fire breaks out. If you are unable to reach your children, they need to know what to do to escape the fire. Teach children how to get out on their own if a fire happens and make it part of the scenarios that you practice as a family.
Make sure your home has visible address markers
When you call the fire department during an actual fire, the firefighters will be relying on the address that you provide. Make sure that the address is visible. Of course, they might know exactly where the fire is going on if it is a big blaze. You still want to make it easier for them to know which house to go to regardless of the size of the fire.
Close doors behind you as you escape
Closing the doors behind you as you escape can slow down the path of the fire. Remember that air makes fires grow, so closing off some of that air supply can slow down how fast the fire spreads throughout the house. It will also give your family more time to escape.
Once your family gets outside, stay outside. You won’t be able to go back in to get your valuables or to rescue other family members or pets. The firefighters can go back in to save any relatives who were not able to escape. Let them know if anyone else is still within the house.