Practice Makes Perfect: The Importance of a Fire Escape Plan
Sep 29th 2017
In our busy lives, it's easy to take for granted just how fast two minutes actually are. Once a fire alarm sounds, you have only two minutes to evacuate a burning house. (CLICK HERE to see why two minutes matters). So, when it comes to fire safety, it's always a good idea to be prepared. One of the best ways to make sure your family is prepared in the event of a home fire is to have a family fire escape plan. If you're not sure how to create a fire escape plan, here are a few easy steps to both create and then execute your plan.
1 - Prepare
The most important component to any fire escape plan is a set of working smoke detectors. You’ve got to have an early warning system to alert family members of a fire. Test the alarms periodically to make sure they’re working by pushing the TEST button. Also, change the batteries out once a year. Set an alarm to remind you every Fire Prevention Week, the second week in October, to change the batteries. This will also be a great reminder to practice your family’s fire escape plan. (CLICK HERE to watch a video on replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors.)
Finally, if your smoke alarms are more than ten years old, are broken, missing, or otherwise malfunctioning, make sure to replace them right away. (To watch a brief video on how to change your smoke detectors yourself, CLICK HERE.)
2 - Plan
Draw a map of your home and be sure to include all windows and doors. Once your map is completed, make lines indicating two ways out of every room. As you’re planning out your escape routes, walk through those rooms to be sure doors and windows aren’t blocked. Try opening and closing all windows to make sure they’re functioning properly. And finally, as you’re mapping out your escape plan, choose a meeting place in front of your home that everyone recognizes and can gather. (CLICK HERE to download our Fire Safety Booklet that includes a page to make your own fire escape plan.)
3 - Practice
Once your family has mapped out your escape plan and checked the routes, it’s time to practice. Make sure all occupants are in attendance so everyone understands the plan. Next, push the TEST button to sound the smoke alarm so occupants are familiar with the way it sounds and what it means when it goes off. Once the alarm sounds, have everyone practice exiting the home and heading straight to the meeting place.
Discuss with your family the importance of getting outside IMMEDIATELY once the alarm sounds. Two minutes is only enough time to find an exit and GET OUT. Remind them not to look for items to take with them or to try and look for family members in the house. They need to move directly outside and to the meeting place. Moving quickly could save lives.
Yearly Fire Preparation Checklist:
- • Test smoke detectors
- • Replace detector batteries
- • Replace detectors that are broken or over ten years old
- • Make or review your fire escape plan
- • Practice your fire escape plan with all occupants of the home
- • Review fire safety tips with your children (click here for family resources on fire safety)
Check out our other Fire Prevention blog posts/videos too!