Fire experts agree that on average you only have between 2-3 minutes to evacuate your residence during a structure fire before it is too late to escape. According to the American Red Cross seven people are killed and thirty-six people seriously injured per day as a result of a fire in a place of residence. Luckily, there are ‘easy’ steps that can be taken to dramatically increase the likelihood that you and your family can escape/survive should your place of residence be involved in a fire.
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your residence and outside of all sleeping areas.
- Check the batteries of each detector once a month and change the batteries twice a year (when you change your clocks for daylight savings time).
- If your smoke detector alarms: Follow your evacuation plan, get out and STAY OUT until investigated by your local fire department.
Exit Drills In The Home
- Make a home escape plan and practice it. You can survive if you know what to do when you hear the smoke alarm.
Plan Your Escape
- Draw a floor plan of your home.
- Show two ways out of each room.
- Agree on an outside meeting place in front of your home where everyone will gather after they’ve escaped.
- Practice! Hold home fire drills. Make them realistic by pretending some exits are blocked by smoke or fire.
- Provide alternatives for anyone with a disability.
- A fire is not a race. Leave quickly but DO NOT RUN!
- Can everyone in your home unlock and open windows?
- If your windows have security bars, are they equipped with inside quick release devices?
- Can children reach and open all door and window locks?
If you live in an apartment building…
- Learn and practice your building’s evacuation plan.
- If you hear a fire alarm, leave immediately.
- Use the stairs – never use elevators during a fire.
- Know the location of all building exits and fire alarms.
- If exits are locked or blocked, report the problem to your building’s management.
- Close doors behind you as you escape to slow the spread of fire and smoke.
- If you have to escape through smoke, crawl, keeping your head no more than one to two feet above the floor, where air will be the cleanest.
- Test door knobs and spaces around the door with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, try another escape route. If it is cool, open it slowly. Slam it shut if smoke pours through.
Get Out and Stay Out: Once you escape a fire, DO NOT GO BACK INSIDE FOR ANY REASON!
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