During a fire, you have less than two minutes to get yourself and your family out of the house. Do you have a fire escape route planned to make it out on time?
Unfortunately, many families set up a smoke alarm, and that’s it. But for you and your family’s health, pre-planning and practicing your fire escape route can be the difference between life and death.
Steps for Planning Your Fire Escape Route
The theme for 2022’s National Fire Prevention Week was “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape,” which helped families across the United States plan what to do in an emergency. We’ve added a couple more steps to ensure everyone is as prepared as possible for a fire.
1. Draw your escape route.
As young people learn about fire escape routes from maps of the school buildings, it’s just as valuable to draw a map of your home or business to highlight which routes are best in the case of a fire. Sit down with everyone and discuss at least two different paths everyone can take to escape smoke and fire.
Fire escape routes should meet all your employees’ needs, including those with sensory or physical disabilities.
2. Find two ways out of every room.
The obvious escape route out of a room is the door, but what other options do you have in case something happens? First, look at any windows. Try and find the window closest to the ground; that way, you don’t have to worry about jumping.
Also, don’t just plan to use the front door. The back door, garage, and any side door may also be helpful in the onset of danger.
If you live in an apartment building, look for any fire escape ladders or alternatives to the elevator. The more information you have, the easier it will be when disaster strikes.
3. Check smoke detectors.
At home, install smoke alarms inside every room where someone sleeps, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home.
Interconnect smoke alarms so that when one goes off, they all do.
4. Choose an outside meeting place.
Once everyone has gotten out of the house safely, the next important step is to have your family meet at a specific spot outside. Since everyone might leave the house through different paths, establish a dedicated marker at a safe distance from your home. Practical markers include trees, mailboxes, and stop signs.
5. Practice fire drills.
Fire drills are useful for more than just school buildings. Frequently practicing fire drills in your home and business forces everyone to memorize their fire escape path, allowing them to move throughout the building during a fire by muscle memory and instinct. Conduct the drill at night and during the day while practicing different escape paths.
6. Know where the fire alarm is located.
Commercial building owners, school personnel, and high-rise dwellers know where the nearest fire alarm is located.
If you are the first to notice a fire, you must pull the fire alarm to warn as many people as possible.
7. Once you’re out, stay out.
Everything is chaotic during a fire, but the number one rule is never to return to a burning building.
For pets, if you can’t find your pet, leave the door open and call them while outside. Allow trained firefighters to go in and find your pets.
Protect Yourself and Others with a Fire Escape Route Plan
Planning and practicing your fire escape route cannot be overstated. With less than two minutes to escape a fire, having a well-thought-out plan can make all the difference between life and death.
Taking these precautions dramatically increases your chances of a safe escape during a fire emergency.