Home Escape Plan
Now is the time to plan! During an emergency is too late to make life saving decisions. If a fire breaks out in your home, you may have only a few minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Everyone in the house needs to know what to do!
- Make sure your home has smoke alarms.
- Draw a map of your house. Show all doors and windows.
- Visit each room and find two ways out.
- Make sure all doors and windows are working (they are your ways out).
- Pick a meeting place outside in front of your home.
- If you do not have a phone with you, go to a neighbor's house and call 9-1-1.
After your plan is in place and you have reviewed it with all the members of your family, it is time to put it to the test! You should practice your home fire escape plan twice a year, making sure the drill is as realistic as possible. Alternate the times and days so it is not predictable. You can even "stage" a fire by pretending a fire is blocking a certain path. Identify areas that need to be improved and adjust as needed.
- If your home has two floors, every family member (including children) must be able to escape from the second-floor rooms. Escape ladders can be placed in or near windows to provide an additional escape route. If a ladder is not an option, sheltering in place may be an option.
- Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping. The objective is to practice, not to frighten, so telling children there will be a drill before they go to bed can be as effective as a surprise drill.
Infants, Elderly, and Handicapped
- If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency.
- Pets will panic when there is a fire. They may hide or run away if you try to take them with you. When you practice your plan on a regular basis, they may learn to follow you in an emergency.
- For pers that cannot get themselves out, get yourself out first. Let the fire department know where they are located when you call or when they show up. If we don't have to look for you, we can look for your pets!
Shelter in Place
- In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your home or apartment building. To prepare for an emergency like this, practice "sealing yourself in for safety" as part of your home fire escape plan. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover air vents to keep smoke from coming in.
- If possible, open your windows at the top and bottom so fresh air can get in. If possible, call the fire department to report your exact location. Toss items out the window like pillows or toys and wave a flashlight or light-colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.