Emergency safety depends on proper planning. It's important that the entire family know what to do in the event of a fire or other emergency. During a crisis, we humans respond the way we have been trained to do. Kids, especially, need a definite plan to help them react appropriately to an emergency. Evacuation plans are not just for fires, either, it's important to have a plan for any emergency.
Plan Your EscapeWrite it down! Make a floor plan of your house:
- use a fire escape grid
- include each floor
- note all potential exits - including windows
- designate two ways out for each room
- draw arrows to show which way to go (like hotels do)
- designate a meeting spot
Security bars need a quick release mechanism on the inside. If your house has security bars on the windows to keep bad guys out, make sure they aren't also keeping the good guys in. If security bars cannot be released, they need to be replaced.
Practice, Practice, PracticeThere is no such thing as too much practice. make sure to practice escaping from each room in the house, through both exits. If it's necessary to climb out of a window, make sure kids practice using the fire escape ladder. The USFA recommends practicing fire drills in the home at least once per month. Be sure to practice releasing security bars as well. Any bars that do not release as necessary need to be repaired or replaced immediately.
No HesitationTime is the enemy in a house fire. There are gases in smoke that can overhwelm an adult in less than a minute. As soon as the smoke alarm starts beeping or someone in the house smells smoke or discovers fire, GET OUT! There is no time to waste.
- Don't stop to get items
- Don't stop to call 911
- Don't go back in the house
Too Hot, Don't TouchAlways test a door with the back of your hand before you open it. If it is hot, leave it closed and exit through the window. Testing with the back of your hand is more sensitive. Opening a door with fire on the other side will cause the fire to jump into the room with you. Fire follows oxygen, and the room without fire has more oxygen than the room that is burning. Don't give fire the chance, keep a hot door closed.
Stay Low and GoHeated air from a fire rises and takes smoke with it. The smoky, dangerous air will collect on the ceiling and steadily work its way down to the floor. Keep your head below the bad, smoky air by crawling on hands and knees during a fire. Remember: bad air up, good air down - stay low and go.
Huddle UpOnce out of the house, go to the meeting place and take attendance.
DO NOT GO BACK INSIDE - EVEN IF SOMEONE IS MISSING! Going back into a burning or unstable house can create a second victim. If someone is trapped inside, rescuers will need to find one person. If you go back inside, they'll need to find two. Once out, stay out.