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How to Prepare Your Home in Case of Fire

This is a guest post by Sally Davidson. If you would like to Guest Post, check out the Guidelines here.

If your home fire alarm woke you up in the middle of the night, would you know what to do? If not, here are some steps you can take to create a home fire escape plan.

1. Make an Escape Plan – Work together with your family to draw a map of your home – graph paper makes this easy. Mark the location of all doors and windows as well. Then designate two ways to escape from every room, giving special consideration to the bedrooms.

2. Discuss Responsibilities – Another important part of your escape plan should take into account any family members who might need help escaping, such as the very young or those with disabilities. Give each family member specific responsibilities. For example, siblings who sleep in the same room can wake each other up. Emphasize that you will work as a team.

3. Choose Meeting Places – You should choose two meeting places. The first should be an obvious place outside your home. The second should be further away, such as at the end of the street, in case it isn’t safe to be so close to the house. Mark these places on the escape plan.

4. Emergency Contacts – Post emergency numbers next to every phone in your house and program them into your cell phone. Designate a friend or relative who lives nearby as your emergency contact person. Make sure your children have this number memorized, along with your own address and number.

5. Check Smoke Alarms/ Fire Extinguishers – It is extremely important that the smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in your home are in working order. Make sure you have at least one alarm on each level of your home and one in each bedroom if possible. If you can, get interconnected smoke alarms, so that they will all go off if one detects smoke. If your home has a fire extinguisher, make sure everyone in your family knows how to use it.

6. Make a Path – After deciding how you would escape from each room, make sure the exit routes are clear. Don’t leave toys or clothing lying on the floor, especially in key walkways such as stairs or doorways. If you have a home with multiple stories, you should consider purchasing escape ladders so that your family can exit from windows safely.

7. Walk Through – Walk through the plan individually with each member of your family. Along the way, discuss actions such as crawling below the smoke, feeling a door for heat before opening it, and getting out of the house as quickly as possible before calling 911. Don’t practice using escape ladders, as the risk of falling is still high, but make sure everyone knows where they are.

8. Practice – You should practice your fire escape plan at least twice a year. If your children are younger you may want to follow them the first few times to make sure they know what to do. It’s also good to change up your drill by telling your children certain exits are blocked. Keep practicing until everyone can get out of the home within three minutes.

This article was posted by Sally Davison. She owns the site Fire Science Degrees. Sally is an experienced EMT and loves to write various articles about health and safety.

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