Home Safety: Fire Escape Planning

Modern technology may be placing an enormous burden on your home‘s electrical system and could cause fire. If you live in an older home, chances are your electrical system wasn’t designed to handle the demands of computers, dishwashers, microwave ovens and other energy-draining modern conveniences. And if you are planning to renovate or install a home office, make sure you upgrade your electrical system while you’re at it.

In accordance with the USFA (U.S. Fire Administration) thousands of deaths and injuries were caused by house fires. It is a good idea to come up with an escape plan just in case a fire breaks out in your home. This way everyone will know what to do in case a fire breaks loose in your home. You and your family should discuss and design and easy to remember plan that is informative, efficient, and speedy. Remember, fires spread quickly so you and your family should also plan to move just as quick.

Some of the topics that should be brought up when discussing a fire escape should include what every individual responsibilities will be assigned to each family member, what the two most safe escape routes are in your home(every room), as well as where to meet up once everyone is outside and safe from the fire. It would be wise to let every family member know that there will be no time to save anything, also that if possible, try to alert others by screaming loudly “Fire!” or something to let everyone know there is an emergency. Once everyone has been alerted individuals should crawl quickly to a safe exit.

Remember if you live in an apartment or some other type of residential building that houses more than one family there are alternate ways to escape. It would be a good thing to get to know where the fire exits in the building are located, to ensure everyone in the building is safe during a fire. The owner of the building or property manager should let tenants know where these escapes are located upon move in. Knowing these types of things will assist you in coming up with an effective escape plan with your family. Escape plans are not something that can be told once and it is “down packed” immediately. You and your family should practice the escape plan at least once a month to ensure that everyone is refreshed on what to do in case of a fire.

Teach your children to crawl on their hands and knees when exiting the home. All practice drills should be carried out this way also. A house you have lived in for years and years will look dramatically different through a layer of thick smoke, and from the viewpoint of your hands and knees. Explain to your children that the smoke could contain noxious gasses that may disorient you or worse yet, kill you. Remembering to feel any closed doors before opening them is another important point to keep in mind. Teach your family the rule of doors. Always feel them before opening the knob. If the door feels hot, there could be a fire on the other side. Try the knob as well, if it is hot, there is more likely than not a fire on the other side of the door. Keep moving to the next planned fire exit.

Time is your biggest enemy in a fire. Always remember to get out as quickly as possible. Leave no room for error, and keep moving at all times. Do not take time to grab for things around you, you life is more important, and most things can be replaced — your life cannot be. When planning your escape route, keep in mind you will need to include every room in the house. Fires are not choosy; they can break out at any place at any time. By covering each room in your escape plan, you and your children will be more familiar with the layout of the house, which will enable them to react more quickly.

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