The warmth of summer is quickly becoming the chill of autumn, a time of year when we take the air conditioners out and turn the heaters on. As heaters come on, comes an increase in risk for house fires … as such … there is no time like the present to take the time to sit down with your family or roommates and draw up your escape plan should there be a fire in your home.
Planning your escape route, should there be a fire, doesn’t need to take a lot of time, but it does need to be well thought out.
First off, go through your home and make sure you test each smoke alarm. Yes, it is always best to change the batteries in your smoke alarm when you set your clocks back for daylight savings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the time to test your smoke alarms now, today.
After each alarm is tested, draw a map of your home; it does not have to be to scale, or an artistic masterpiece, just a rough map of each room or corridor, with doors and windows, to begin planning how everyone can safely exit the house should there be a fire.
As you map your escape routes, make sure that you check each path to ensure no windows or doors are blocked. If you are on a second floor, remember that you may need a rope ladder or some other way down from a window and plan for that now.
Once you have mapped your escape paths, choose a meeting place outside, in front of your home. A place that is easy for everyone get to, so there is no confusion in the potential chaos of a house fire.
Once everyone has planned their routes to safety comes the fun part … practicing!
We’ve all had fire drills in school; well everyone should have a fire drill at home as well, ideally twice a year. Plan how you will get out, truly practice the plan, even if it means using a rope ladder and dropping it from your second floor window.
Make sure each window opens, make sure everyone knows how to open each window and screen, then safely exit not only their room, but every room in the house.
If you have young children or pets, make sure you test your plans with your children and pets, just as you would should there be a house fire.
The time to practice is not during an emergency, but in a time when it is calm, when it is quiet and you can make sure your plan works, not hope your plan works as the smoke fills your house and the flames are licking at your door.
Do not test your plan until you get it right; test your plan until you cannot get it wrong.
If you have any questions or need assistance in planning your family’s emergency escape plan, email email@example.com