Do you have an escape plan in case of fire in your home? According to a survey by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), only one third of American households have developed and practiced such a plan. What’s more, many of us overestimate the amount of time we’ll have before a fire becomes life threatening—usually far less than the six minutes most expect.
There’s a lot you can do to prevent household fires, but your family should always be prepared for the unexpected. During the current Fire Prevention Week, use the following pointers to make your household fire escape plan.
• Make a simple map of your home, including all doors and windows, and make sure each family member knows at least two ways out of every room.
• Choose an emergency meeting place outside, at a safe distance from your home. Mark this meeting place on your emergency escape map.
• Twice a year, practice your home fire drill with the entire family at night and during the day. Rehearse different routes out of the house and how to “stay low and go” if you have to escape through smoke.
• Be sure to close doors behind you as you leave.
• Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them. This is especially important for small children, who tend to “hide” from fire.
• Ensure that all family members know to get out of the house and stay out once they hear a fire alarm—no going back inside for people or pets.
A solid, well-rehearsed fire escape plan is a must for every household, and an important means of protecting your family. For more tips and fire safety information, visit www.nfpa.org/education.