Fire Escape Planning
Time is of the essence when escaping a fire, so every second counts. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a building to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames, so proper escape planning will help your family get out quickly.
- Escape plans should be conducted at least twice per year.
- Make sure you have at least 2 ways out of every room, like the primary door and a window. Make sure windows haven’t been painted or nailed shut and that everyone knows how to open them.
- Escape ladders can be used for high windows but make sure they are long enough and that they carry an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing.
- Each family member that is able should practice feeling their way out of the house in the dark or with their eyes closed to simulate the dark, smoky conditions that exist in a fire.
- When a fire occurs, time should never be wasted trying to save valuables and keepsakes.
- Crawl low under the smoke and keep your mouth covered. The smoke contains toxic gases which can disorient and overcome you.
- Use the back of your hand to feel the door to see if it’s hot, which indicates fire is on the other side, so you should use your second escape route. If the door is cool, open it slowly. Quickly shut the door if smoke or heat comes in and use your second escape.
- Your escape plan should include necessary accommodations for any special circumstances, such as helping very small children or anyone that is deaf/hard of hearing, wheelchair bound, blind, etc. Canes, wheelchairs, eyeglasses, hearing aids and the like should be kept beside the person that uses them so the items can be located quickly.
- Designate a meeting location away from the building that all family members are aware of and can get to. Then one person should call 911 from a cell phone or a neighbor’s house.
- Never go back into a burning building for any reason!
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