House fires claim thousands of lives each year. Aside from following the recommended fire
safety precautions, it is essential for every household to have a fire escape plan.
A house can be engulfed in fire in just a few minutes. After the alarm sounds, you only have two minutes to literally run for your life. Your ability to get out safely depends on the advance warning of the smoke alarms and, more importantly, advance planning. While you do not want house fire to happen, you should anticipate for the worse. Everyone in the household must know and practice the fire escape plan.
In 2011, an estimated 370,000 house fires and some 2,520 deaths have been recorded in the United States. Less than 30 percent of American households have actually developed and practiced a fire escape plan to ensure they could quickly and safely evacuate. Many people think that they have at least 6 minutes to evacuate their home in case of a major fire. But in reality, the time to evacuate is often less; moreover, not many people know what to do as soon after hearing the smoke alarm.
Every household is recommended to take steps in developing their own fire escape plans. Here are tips on how you can create your fire escape plan as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association.
Developing Your Fire Escape Plan
1. Develop a map of your house showing all windows, doors, and walkways. Discuss the plan with all household members.
2. Every room in the house should have at least 2 exits. Make sure windows and doors are easy to open.
3. Set an outdoor meeting place where all household members will report in case of a disaster or fire. The assigned meeting place should have a safe distance from the house. It can be a pole, a tree, a mailbox, or a streetlight. 4. Regularly practice and discuss your home fire escape plan, during the day and at night. Fire drills are recommended to be conducted every two years.
5. Practice different ways to get out of the house.
6. Children should be taught how to escape on their own in case no one can help them.
7. Make sure to close the doors behind you as you leave.
What to do if the fire alarm sounds?
1. Get out immediately and stay out. Never go back inside the house to get valuables, people or pets. Your top priority is your safety. Let the trained and equipped firefighters do the rescue.
2. If the room is engulfed in smoke and you need to get past through it, stay low to breath fresh air. Avoid breathing in too much of smoke.
3. Make sure you are in a safe place when you call the fire department.