According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2012 and 2016 there were an average of 355,000 house fires. These disasters resulted in approximately 2500 tragic deaths. When a home suffers from a fire, the occupants have about two minutes to escape to safety. Without a proper evacuation plan, this can be incredibly difficult, or even impossible.
Fire spreads quickly, and a home fills fast with thick smoke making it nearly impossible to see. A proper escape plan that is practiced regularly can help all family members become familiar with all exits, to assist with a fast and safe escape.
How to Start with Fire Safety
If you have children in the house it is important to start talking about a fire emergency as soon as possible. Kids with a better understanding of what to expect and how to react in the event of a fire will be much more prepared to stay calm during an actual emergency and make their way to quickly to safety.
- The first step to keeping your home safe from a fire is to ensure that there are working smoke detectors in each room, and each hallway. All detectors should have working batteries, and require testing at least twice a year. When you test each detector, family members should be around to familiarize themselves with the sound.
- After ensuring the detectors are in working order, it’s time to start thinking about an escape plan. Each room in your home should have two exits. The door is the easiest exit, and typically a window acts as a second.
- Draw out a sketch of your floor plan, carefully marking each room and exit. Talk to each person and review how to exit the rooms in case of a fire – and what main exit to take to get out of the house. Once you are familiar with both exits in each room it’s time to practice exiting your home!
- For children, this is an important step. If the main exit of their room is blocked by flames or smoke, they may have to turn to their window as a means of escape. Practicing how to open the windows and remove the screens for a fast exit will prevent any surprises during an actual emergency.
- Outside your home, set up a safe meeting spot once everyone has exited the house. This can be near a street post, a mailbox, or a neighbors home – just make sure that the spot is far enough away from your house to be safe!