Planning a Fire Evacuation Route for your Family
Does your family know what to do in the event of an emergency? Do you have a well-planned fire evacuation route that offers multiple options? If you have a home and family, then it’s time to sit down and plan a proper fire evacuation route.
One of the biggest mistakes families make is not preparing for a potential fire. Teaching your family how to respond, where to meet up, and basic fire knowledge can be the difference between life and death.
Fires are unexpected, but having a reliable evacuation route combined with a solid understanding of fire basics can help you and your family stay prepared in the event of such a tragedy.
Fire Detection – Stove Top Fire, Electrical Fires, Grease Fires
The first step with any fire prevention plan is to ensure that you have proper fire detection methods in place. Whether that’s a stove top fire device, understanding common foods that can spark a grease fire, or any other causes of fire to alert you that you and your family is in danger.
Everyone knows that having a fire alarm set throughout your home is mandatory, and by law required by many states that offer home insurance. But if you don’t take the time to check, test and replace the batteries in your alarm, then you might as well not have one installed.
Nowadays, with modern technology, there are other means to protect your home, such as an advanced zone fire alarms that monitor each part of your home. If you prefer active protection, then opting in for a live monitor service provider can give you the confidence you need when you are away from your home.
Regardless of which type of fire protection you choose, having one that is in place, and up to date, tested often and ready for when a potential fire breaks out is key to saving your home, your belongings, and even your life.
Covering Fire Basics
Understanding some fundamental factors when it comes to a fire is just as important as having an evacuation plan. Educating your family about how to recognize a fire, preventing toxic smoke inhalation, and being able to identify if a fire is behind a closed door are all necessary skills to help you and your family escape a fire.
Fire Safety Basics:
- Stay Low – Everyone knows that heat and smoke rises, so the first order of business when fighting a home fire is to stay as low to the floor as possible. This will help you minimize the amount of toxic smoke you inhale, as well as reduce the heat your body is exposed to during your evacuation.
- Touch Before Opening – If you are trapped in a room and need to escape, first touch the door. This technique will give you an indication if there is a fire directly behind the door before opening. If the door or door knob is hot, then find an alternative route, being another door, or window if possible.
- Avoid Flammables – When a home is on fire, clothes, drapes, table cloths and other flammables are to be avoided at all costs. Do not hide inside a closet. Avoid close encounters with beds, curtains and other potential fire hazards that could spontaneously combust causing you harm.
Planning Your Evacuation Route
Now that you and your family have the right fire detection in place and the knowledge on what to do if a fire does break out into your home planning an evacuation route is the next phase in protecting your family against a home fire.
The primary factor when it comes to an evacuation plan has multiple routes based on “where” the fire sparks. For example, if you are facing a kitchen stove fire, your evacuation route could be different than if your home catches fire due to a random lightning strike.
Include your entire family and make a plan. It’s best practice to walk through your entire home and inspect all the possible exits and escape routes for maximum protection. If you have younger children, then it is recommended to draw a floor plan outlining escape routes for easy access.
Installing smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every floor of the home is recommended, as Closed doors can slow the spread of smoke, delaying your alarms from alerting you of a fire.
Ensure that every member of your family understands the escape plan, how to open windows, remove screens or other factors needed to ensure a safe escape.
Identify an outside meeting place that is a safe distance from the front of your home. This can be a neighbor’s house, mailbox, stop sign, or whatever else is safely out of harm’s way and easy to see. Consider your meeting place when trying to see in the dark as well, as this can help your family reunite.
Check your home address number and make sure it’s clearly visible from the street. This will allow emergency personnel and neighbors to quickly identify your home when responding or reporting a fire.
If your home has security bars, it is recommended that you have an emergency release device inside the home to allow immediate access in case of an emergency.
The final step with any plan is to test, practice and train. It is recommended that families conduct a fire training drill at least two times a year. This training not only serves to remind your family members of the escape route, but also allows you to check your alarm systems, windows, and doors for malfunction or maintenance before an actual emergency.
Thousands of people lose their homes to fires each year, however, by planning, educating and practicing your fire safety skills, combined with a comprehensive fire evacuation route, families can protect the lives of their loved ones.