Fire Safety: Escape Plans
Each family member must know what to do in the event of a fire in the home. Unless a small fire can be easily controlled, it is recommended that fighting the fire be left to professional firefighters and that family members escape safely from the home.
A home escape plan must be created and practiced so that each person knows exactly what to do. It also is important to practice Exit Drills In The Home (EDITH).
Most residential fires occur between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Deaths from residential fires occur in greater numbers between midnight and 4 a.m. when most people are asleep. An average of 800 fires strike residential buildings each day in the United States. More than 6,500 persons die each year from fire - more than half of them children and senior citizens. The majority of these deaths are in home fires.
Regardless of the cause of the fire, a home may be filled with smoke. This is a very dangerous situation. Family members may be unable to see very well. The smoke and toxic gases may cause dizziness and disorientation. In the confusion, one can easily become lost or trapped in the home. Family members must understand that their safety depends upon quickly leaving the home. It has been proven that exit drills reduce chances of panic and injury in fires and that trained and informed people have a much better chance to survive fires in their home.
Follow these rules when planning your escape:
- Plan and practice your plan
- If your homes catches fire, stay low, get out and stay out
- If your clothes cath fire, stop, drop and roll until the flames are out
- Draw a plan of your home. Show two ways out of every room, including a window. To escape from upper stories, purchase a UL approved collapsible ladder
- Practice escaping from every room in your house and make sure everyone understands the escape plan
- Make sure windows and screens can be easily opened
- Provide alternatives for disabled family members
- Teach your children not to hide from firefighters
- Agree on a meeting place where everyone will gather after you have escaped
- Remember to get out first, then call for help
- Practice your plan at least twice a year, making sure everyone is involved
- Learn and practice your building's evacuation plan
- If you hear a fire alarm, leave immediately
- Use stairs, never use an elevator during a fire
Photo courtesy One Step Ahead