Do I need a fire escape plan?
Simply put, yes. Every family should have one. Consider this, if a fire unexpectedly broke out in your home tonight would everyone in your family get out safely?
We don’t mean to scare you but residential fires are much more common than most people think. Canadian firefighters respond to more than 50,000 home fires each year. The best way to avoid injury is knowing exactly what to do in such an emergency.
Why not take a few minutes, include all those in your household and make a personal home fire escape plan using the suggestions listed below. It’s easier than you may think.
- 1. Draw a simple floor plan of your home, identify two possible exits from each room or area. Include the locations of all doors, windows and staircases. Identify other features that may be used in an emergency escape situation such as the roof on a porch or garage.
- 2. Identify those who may need extra help, agree in advance who will be responsible for helping young children, elderly parents or those with limitations or disabilities.
- 3. Select an appropriate muster point, a pre-determined location where everyone can gather. The muster point should be enough away to be safe but close enough to be visible to arriving emergency crews.
- 4. Once developed, ensure everyone has a copy of your family’s fire escape plan, perhaps post a copy on the fridge.
The key now is to practice. Sure this may not seem cool or like a whole lot of fun but being prepared is better than not. So conduct fire drills twice a year and be creative. You could change things up occasionally by blocking the obvious exit routes, forcing participants to use an alternative path. Vary everyone’s starting point and once the family has developed a level of confidence consider springing a surprise drill late at night or at least after dark.
Remind children that it is never safe to re-enter a burning home even if that means losing a favorite toy or even a family pet.
Knowing what to do in the event of a real emergency can save valuable seconds, so take a few minutes to discuss and develop with your family a personal fire escape plan.