Having a practiced escape plan can mean the difference between life and death in a fire situation. A fire spreads quickly and can become life threatening within 2 minutes of its start. It is essential to move without delay when evacuating. Once your plan is developed, it should be practiced at least twice a year.
A fire escape plan should include two ways to exit each room. The primary exit should be the door leading into the room, with the secondary exit being a window or alternative door. If your primary exit is blocked by smoke or fire, you will need to use your secondary exit.
If your secondary exit is a window, you need to make sure they are not stuck and opens easily. Screens need to be able to come out quickly and if you have security bars, they need to release properly. If your window is located on a second floor or higher, you should purchase a collapsible ladder. When purchasing an escape ladder, only buy one which is evaluated by a nationally recognized lab. (Example: U.L Listed)
Make sure everyone in the family understands and practices the escape plan. You want to include how to properly open locked or barred windows and doors. Practice feeling your way out of the house low towards the floor with your eyes closed, in case you have a fire involving heavy smoke. When in a fire situation, smoke is heavier the higher up you are. Staying low to the ground is the best place to be.
If you have children in your household, make sure to teach them not to hide from firefighters. Firefighters are there to help them get to safety. If your child’s school does not offer a fire prevention program, stop down at your local firehouse and have them give your child a quick tour. Fire gear can look scary to a child; asking a firefighter to show your child what they look like in their gear can help ease their fears.
You should sleep with your doors closed at night. When an alarm sounds, you want to check your door immediately to feel for heat. If the door knob is hot to the touch or you see smoke coming in under or around your door, use your secondary escape route.
If you are in a fire situation, exit the building immediately. You do not have time to make a phone call or to grab valuables. Once you are outside, do not re-enter the building. Call for help and explain to the 911 operator the situation, including the location of anyone which may still be trapped inside. If you find it impossible to escape, place clothes or anything else you can find around the open cracks of the doorway to keep the smoke out, try to signal for help at a window with a light or colored cloth.
A fire escape plan will only help if you have the right fire detection devices in your home. If you would like to learn more about having a professionally installed fire system for your home or business, please call Northeast Security Systems at (201) 529-0100.