Do you have a plan in place should a fire strike your home? You should.

Preparation is key to getting your family out of harm’s way—quickly!

Below is a guide on how to create a fire escape plan for your home.

Install Smoke Detectors on Every Floor

Smoke detectors give you early warning that something is amiss, so that you can react accordingly. At a minimum, have at least one smoke detector per floor in your home. Ideally, you’d also have one in every bedroom.

Test the smoke detectors and change their batteries on a regular basis. A working smoke detector is your first line of defense against a house fire. 

Identify Two Ways Out

Walk through each room in your home and identify two ways to escape. Make sure everyone in your family is aware of these exit plans.

In the event of a fire, do not open a door in which smoke is coming from the bottom or that feels hot to the touch. Rely on your alternate route to safety instead. In addition, be cautious of doorknobs, which can become dangerously hot and burn you.

For upstairs bedrooms, purchase fire escape ladders to make a window exit possible. Stow these away in a closet or under a bed so they are available, if needed. If you find yourself in an upstairs room without a ladder, wave a sheet out the window to signal to the firemen that you are trapped.

Stay Low to the Ground

Smoke rises; therefore, the closer you are to the ground, the better. When exiting the house, crawl on your hands and knees. For further protection, cover your mouth and nose with a shirt or cloth, if possible. This will limit your chances of suffering from smoke inhalation.

Have a Meeting Place

Identify ahead of time a meeting place for your family to gather in the event of a fire—a neighbor’s front yard is usually a good choice. This way, you are able to quickly know who escaped safely and who is still inside.

The first person to this meeting place should also immediately call 911 or ask a neighbor to do so. Even if your smoke detectors are monitored, this ensures that help is indeed on the way.

Practice It!

Don’t leave your plan up to chance; practice it! Make sure everyone knows how to exit, how to operate escape ladders, who to call, etc. Fires are scary, so the more ingrained you can make actions, the more likely people will act as intended.

What’s included in your family’s fire escape plan?

Image Source: Stuart Grout