How To Create a Fire Escape Plan
In the event of a fire, every second counts! Having an escape plan will help you get out of your home quickly and can protect you and your family's safety.
1) Find all exits and practice escaping
Begin by identifying all exits within your home. The best plans 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 so make sure windows can be opened and screens can be taken out quickly. You can also practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
2) Know how to remove security bars
Security bars may help to keep your family safe from intruders, but they could trap you in a deadly fire. Windows and doors with security bars must have quick release devices to allow them to be opened immediately in an emergency. Make sure everyone understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked doors and windows.
3) Navigate through smoke
Once everyone is familiar with which exits they will take, the next step is practicing how to leave the home. Plan to take the safest exit route first but know that you may have to escape through smoke. Remember to crawl low, under the toxic smoke and keep your mouth covered.
4) Open doors carefully
If you come to a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel three places on the door. The top, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and door frame. Do this to make sure there is no fire on the other side. If any spot feels hot, use your secondary escape route. If the door feels cool, open it carefully by bracing your shoulder against the door and opening it slowly. If heat and smoke come in, securely close the door then use your alternate escape route.
5) Designate a meeting place
Designate a location for everyone to meet safely away from the home to make sure everyone has gotten out. One person should contact the fire department or go to a neighbor’s house for help.
6) Do not re-enter a burning building
If someone is missing, provide the information to the firefighters. They are best equipped to perform these rescues. Never go back into a burning building if you cannot rescue someone else safely.