Fire Escape Planning
Save the Life of Your Loved Ones
House fires are among the leading causes of accidental injuries and death. Fires can become uncontrollable and spread quickly, often without following any pattern. Fire escape planning is essential for all households.
In any fire accident, every second counts. In just minutes, an entire house can be engulfed by fire and become filled with smoke. Before you can even think of running, the house can be burning and you suffocated. As in any emergency, preparedness is key to survival. Fire escape planning is essential for every household. A fire evacuation plan helps the household members get out of the home safely and quickly through identified exit routes. These escape routes should have been previously discussed and rehearsed.
Households are recommended to have not just one escape plan but multiple evacuation plans in place for each part of the house. Since fires are often unpredictable, a single escape route can limit your family and leave them trapped. It is not enough to have an escape plan, make sure to practice the plan regularly. Practice ensures that everyone knows what to do in case of fire. Guests staying at the house should also be aware of the escape plans.
Here are some tips to consider about fire escape planning:
- Make a map for each level of the house showing all the exit points such as doors and windows. Identify two quick and safe ways to get out of each room. Be sure that all the doors and windows lead to an open space outside.
- Teach children how to escape in case you are not there to help them.
- Include family members in your home who have special needs or disabilities.
- Practice your fire escape plan during the daytime and at night.
- Designate an assembly point outside your home. It should be at a safe distance to ensure safety.
- Once you are out, you should never go back into a building on fire. Let firefighters rescue someone who is trapped inside the home. They have adequate training, experience and equipment to perform the rescue.
An important principle in fire escape planning is to communicate the plan with all household members. Instruct family members to choose the quickest and safest exit route. If the house is filled with smoke, they should stay on the floor level, crawl low
under the smoke, and keep their mouths covered. The smoke contains toxic gases that can cause disorientation, difficulty breathing, and even respiratory arrest.
If all exit routes have been blocked or inaccessible and you become
trapped, close all doors and cover cracks and vents around the doors to prevent the smoke from entering the room. Call 911 immediately and stay in your position. Use flashlight or light-colored cloth to signal for help. Fire escape planning is not a one-time deal, continue to rehearse and review your plan.