Build a plan of escape to keep you and your loved ones safe if a fire does occur. Know what to do and be sure everyone in the family practices the escape actions. In a fire situation, panic can be as blinding as the flames and smoke.
- Find the exits. Be sure that every room in the home has two exits. If you will have to use a window, be sure it can be opened easily by everyone and try to mark it so that it can be found quickly.
- Make sure all doors are easy to open. Be sure door locks and security systems can be easily disengaged. Some doors have dead bolt locks that require a key, so be sure the key is within reach of the door and verify that everyone knows where it is and can reach it. Remember, children will not have time to find a stepstool if the key is too high for them to reach.
- Create a house floorplan, marking all exits. Draw out a simple floor plan and post it in every room, marking the exits for that room on the plan. Show the escape route from each room to the outdoor area you have designated as the meeting place. Be sure all levels of the house are mapped.
- Designate a meeting location safely away from the house. Everyone should know where they will gather after escaping. This way you will know if anyone is still trapped in the house.
- Be sure you have ladder escapes for upper level rooms.. The best form of ladder for upper level rooms is the foldable chain escape ladder. It can be kept by the designated escape window. Have regular drills, letting people open the window and hook the ladder over the sill. This practice could save their lives in a panic situation.
- Teach everyone that they must not re-enter the building. Pets and possessions left behind could tempt family members back into the building. Explain that such an attempt could result in the death of both rescuer and rescued.
- Teach “Stop, drop, and roll”. Everyone should be taught what to do if they catch fire. “Stop” means not to run or flail, which feeds the fire. “Drop” means fall to the ground, thus preventing the motion that would fan the flames. “Roll” means to roll back and forth, smothering the flames. If they see someone else in flames, they must do the same for them – get them on the ground and smother the flames with a coat or blanket.