Make a Home Fire Escape Plan
In the event of a house fire, every second counts! Plan ahead and create an escape plan to help you and your family safely get out of your home as fast as possible.
1) Find all possible exits
Begin by identifying all exits within your home. Try to have two ways to get out of each room in case the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke. A secondary route might be a window with a collapsible ladder. Make sure windows can be opened and screens can be taken out quickly.
2) Know how to remove security locks
Security bars may help to keep your family safe from intruders, but they could trap you if not removed in a fire. Windows and doors with security locks should have a quick release to allow them to be opened immediately in an emergency. Make sure everyone understands how to properly open locked doors and windows.
3) Practice navigating through your home
Once everyone is familiar with which exits to take, the next step is practicing leaving the home. Plan to take the safest exit route first, but remember to practice all exit routes in case one is blocked. Have everyone try crawling low to the ground to stay under toxic smoke while keeping their mouth covered. You can also practice your exit routes in the dark.
4) Open doors carefully
If you have to open a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel three places on the door. The top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and door frame. If any spot feels hot, you should use a secondary escape route. If the door feels cool, brace your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. If heat and smoke come in, close the door immediately.
5) Designate a meeting place
Your escape plan shouldn't end once everyone is out of the house. Designate a location for your family to meet a safe distance away from the home to ensure everyone has gotten out safely. When you meet together, designate one person to contact the fire department or go to a neighbor’s house for help.
6) Do not re-enter a burning building
If a family member or a pet is missing, immediately alert firefighters and provide them with their information. Firefighters are best equipped to perform these rescues. Never go back into a burning building if you cannot rescue someone else safely.