Thursday, December 15, 2016

Holiday Fire Hazards

Fire Escape Plans: Could Your Family Get Out in Two Minutes?

Fire drills. You’ve probably done these at work; your kids do these at school. But data show that we’re more likely to encounter a fire at home than at work or school, yet only about 1 out of 3 adults say they have created AND practiced a home fire escape plan. Why don’t we practice our fire escape plans at home like we do at work or school?

The holidays pose many fire hazards so it’s the perfect time to get serious about your home fire escape plan.

Why is practice so important? Years ago, people had more time to get out of burning buildings, but with changes to the way homes are built and what’s inside them, houses burn much more quickly than they used to. Experts recommend that every person in the house be able to exit in two minutes or less. That’s not a lot of time. In the event of a real fire, your child will likely be scared and confused, so practicing helps your child remember what to do when emotions are running high. Practice will help everyone in the family for the same reason.

Here are some tips to remember:

  • Decide on a plan. The National Fire Protection Association, the Red Cross, and Make Safe Happen all have resources to help you design a plan. 
  • Before your drill, walk through the plan with your family. Show them the routes out of each room. Make a note of any equipment you need to buy, such as smoke alarms or fire escape ladders. Test windows and doors to make sure they open.  
  • Start with untimed drills during the day. As your family becomes more comfortable with their escape routes, try practicing at different times during the day and at night. 
  • Pretend it’s a real fire: stay low by crouching or crawling, test doors for heat with the back of your hand, and set up fire escape ladders if needed. 
  • Aim to get everyone to the meeting spot outside the house in two minutes or less.

More tips