After decades of installing fire alarms and security systems with Guardhouse in Indianapolis, I have had the chance to share with families how important having a fire escape plan is. In an emergency fire situation, you won’t have time to think. Your survival instincts kick in and adrenaline rushes through your veins. In those few moments of alert, it’s essential that you’ve taken every step in being prepared to face the imminent danger.
photo credit: StockMonkeys.com via photopin ccYou may have heard of fire escape plans, but you have yet to put one together. Maybe you have a paper one withering on the back of your garage door or in a kitchen drawer. No judgement here. But, the time is here to make a new one.
Every home has different fire safety and security needs. To find out yours, take this quick assessment. And, as you sketch out the layout of your house and determine the best exits, keep in mind these 10 must do's for your home fire escape plan:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside of sleeping areas.
- Make sure your street number is clearly visible from the road so that responding emergency personnel can find your home. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers.
- Make sure all the windows open easily.
- If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices on the inside so they can be opened immediately in an emergency.
- If your home has two floors, store an escape ladder near the window, in an easily accessible location. You don’t want to have to search for it during a fire.
- Practice getting out with your eyes closed, crawling low to the floor.
- Close doors on your way out to slow the spread of fire, giving you more time to safely escape.
- Never open doors that are warm to touch.
- Pick a meeting location away from your home.
- Once you get out of your home, stay out under all circumstances, until a fire official gives you permission to go back inside.
Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to make copies of important documents and pictures (or store them in a bank or a fire-proof safe). You won’t have time to grab them all - and you don’t want to lose them to the fire. So, put that printer to good use and recall that code to the safe.
There. You’re ready for a fire emergency. Now, laminate that fire escape plan (or upload it to your family’s shared cloud account) so it’s both accessible and won’t easily fade.
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