Fire Safety – The Escape Plan
Fire Safety – The Escape Plan
Whether it was at school, or at work in an office building, we have all been through fire drills numerous times during our lifetimes. But let me ask you this. Have you ever had a fire drill at your home?
I bet if I put this poll out there to the public, the “NO” answer would win by a staggering majority. And at this point, I admit that I would be in the majority with my answer. But after reading up on this subject, that will change in the not so distant future.
The first few steps of the plan involves preparation.
- Make sure that you have smoke alarms in the right areas of your home and that testing them to make sure they are functional. The old adage of having one alarm on each floor does not apply anymore. You should have one alarm in each bedroom, one outside of each bedroom, and at least one on the other floors in the home. And it is best to have interconnected alarms throughout the home, so when one alarm is triggered, all of the alarms sound at once.
- Make sure your house number is CLEARLY visible from the road. You do not want to delay the fire department from getting to your home.
- Make sure everyone knows the emergency numbers to call, even small children.
- Then you need to pull your household members together and make a plan. Start by walking through the home and locating ALL possible escape routes. IF you have younger children, you may want to consider drawing up a floor map with the exits clearly mapped (we have all seen these types of maps in hotels before).
- Make sure each room above ground level has an escape ladder and that everyone is trained and knows how to use the ladders. During a fire, a window might just be the only way out, and you do not want to learn on the fly during a fire.
- Designate an outside meeting place for to gather after evacuating the house. And make sure you mark the meeting place on your escape plan. This is the best way to account for all household members during the hectic emergency event.
- If there are infants, small children, or adults with mobility problems, make sure the plan designate who is responsible for getting them to safety, with backups designated. The last thing you want to happen is to assume someone else is getting them and then get outside to realize that no one did.
- Go over your plan on a regular basis to make sure everyone understands their responsibilities and know the best way out should a fire occur.
Putting your Plan to the test:
- Practice your plan at least twice per year. And make the drill as realistic as possible, including having a drill in the middle of the night occasionally. This is important so you can see if there are household members who will not be awakened by the smoke alarms. This needs to be noted so responsibility can be assigned to get them up and out should there be a fire in the middle of the night.
- In a fire, you will not always be able to just walk out of the front or back doors. So practice exiting the house from the windows. And if you have more than on floor, practice using the escape ladders from the second floor windows.
- Fires happen and the can be devastating, so having a plan and knowing what to do beforehand and make a difference between making it out safely and not making it out. Sadly, no plan can ever guarantee that you will make it out safely, but having plan and practicing the plan, will increase your odds of doing so.
At Huff Insurance, we hope you never have to go through a fire emergency. But should it happen, we want to make sure you are as prepared as possible. We can provide the home insurance to replace your home and personal property, but we cannot provide protection to replace a loved one. Please take fire safety seriously.