A fire in your home can be one of the most terrifying experiences that an individual can go through in their lifetime. Not only are all the most precious possessions you own at risk of complete and utter destruction, you also risk the loss of your life and the lives of those you love!
However, despite the absolute horror of such an event and the relative ease with which a fire can start and spread through the home, many of us have never created a proper home fire escape plan. In the event of a fire, we assume we’ll have the time to work it all out on the fly, that despite the panic, the smoke, the flames and heat, we’ll be able to think critically and make the right decisions without any proper preparation or consideration.
When spelled out simply like this, it seems like a foolish way to prepare for such a dangerous and terrifying eventuality. Your plan may disintegrate rapidly under strain of an actual fire, but it is better than no plan whatsoever. Many of us likely don’t realize how fast a fire can spread, and how fast smoke can overcome not only ourselves but family members, particularly the young and the elderly. This article will explain some very simple steps to make your own home fire escape plan in a matter of minutes, which can, in the unfortunate extreme of a house fire, save not only your life but the lives of those you love.
A good first step is to draw a map of your home. It doesn’t need to be a work of art, just understandable. Using a piece of grid or graphing paper is easiest for this. Mark all the possible exits on this map, and try to mark down at least two (2) exits per room. Likely this will be a door and a window. Check every room in the house while making your map, and ensure that all exits are accessible, windows will open sufficiently, etc. An important part of any fire escape plan is having functioning smoke alarms. Every second counts in a home fire, and being forewarned can give you crucial extra seconds to put your plan into action. Test the alarms as often as possible, and try to have several spread throughout the house.
Assure everyone in the family who is capable of understanding the plan and putting it into action is taught what is expected of them. Children should be drilled on your home fire escape plan, they should know the various exits and how to reach them quickly and safely. Have a meeting point set up outside, somewhere obvious, like under a large tree, at the end of the driveway, or whatever seems safest and most convenient for your family. When you reach that location, ensure everyone has arrived. If you have pets, make sure they sleep somewhere near an adult, who can hopefully grab them and drag them out in the event of a fire. Perhaps have a specific individual assigned to each pet, if there is more than one. Never go back in for a pet though, leave that to the professionals.
Speaking of the professionals, make sure everyone knows the phone number for emergency services, and call them once you are safely outside the home. Try and ensure your street number is visible from the road, hopefully making it easier for emergency services to step into action. Finally, practice your home fire escape plan. This doesn’t mean crawl out windows every night to be ready, but act out the other portions, figure out how to make it from point A to point B effectively and quickly, and make sure everyone knows what they are to do and how to do it. Practice makes perfect, and in a critical situation, where time is essential, a couple of practice runs under your belt will certainly make you safer. Although you can never be FULLY prepared for a fire, knowing what you need to do and how to do it will make it easier and more likely you’ll come out safely. There is a very good reason why individuals working in dangerous conditions practice so much: simply put, practice makes perfect.
Hopefully the above information gives you some idea of how to quickly and easily design a home fire escape plan for your family or just yourself. Remember preparation for such eventualities saves lives. Be safe, and though hope you’ll never need it, be prepared with your own home fire escape plan.