Every year thousands of people die or are injured in house fires. Don’t let your family become a statistic—many of these injuries are avoidable if you have a sound escape plan in place to protect you and your family if a fire occurs in your home.
First, always ensure that your smoke detectors are properly installed and operating. Test them every month—a working smoke detector is the earliest signal alerting you to a potential fire.
Second, you and your family should establish an escape plan that outlines at least two exits from each room in your home in the event of a fire. If the primary exit is blocked by fire or smoke, you will need a second way out.
Every member of your family should practice the escape plan each month both in the light and in the dark so that everyone knows how to feel their way out of the house.
When creating an escape plan, incorporate the following elements:
• When coming to a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob and the crack between the door and the frame to make sure that the fire is not directly outside. If the door feels hot, use the secondary exit. If the door feels cool, brace yourself against it and open it slowly.
• Do not waste any time trying to save your personal property. Instead, take the safest exit route.
• If you must escape through smoke, crawl low under the smoke and cover your mouth.
• Establish a meeting place outside of the home where everyone knows to go once they are safely out. Designate one person to go to a neighbor’s house to call the fire department.
• Never go back into a burning building for any reason.