Once a fire starts inside your home, you can have as little as two minutes to get out - that doesn’t leave very much time for thought, just action. Fire is a powerful force to be reckoned with - and the best chance that you have of surviving a fire is readiness.
Unfortunately, many individuals and families don’t have a well-developed fire safety plan. It’s not something most folks think about on a day-to-day basis, but it is an important step to take to protect yourself and your loved ones in preparation for a potential fire situation.
Developing & Maintaining a Fire Plan
The best way to be ready for a fire is to come up with a proper fire plan. A fire plan includes evacuation plans, routine checks of any smoke detectors or fire extinguishers, and practice of proper safety procedures. Some tips to help with your fire plan include:
- Set an outside meeting place - Make it somewhere close to your home. It is easier to keep track of each other when you are all together. Setting an outside meeting place could save an emergency responder or family member from running into a burning building to check for a person who has already escaped but hasn’t been found.
- Stay low while escaping - Heat rises. So do smoke and many of the toxic chemicals produced by house fires. The lower you can stay to the ground while escaping, the better your chances are of coming out unharmed.
- Practice getting out of the house blind - Any fireman can tell you, it is often nearly impossible to see in a house fire. Smoke and darkness come with fires. It’s a good idea to know your way around your house without being able to see it!
They say practice makes perfect - practice your fire plan like your life depends on it, because one day it might.
Fire Evacuation Plans
An evacuation plan is one of the most important parts of any fire safety plan. The American Red Cross has provides an example fire escape plan (PDF) to illustrate what a proper escape plan looks like.
Fire Safety for Kids
Talk to your children about fire safety. Talk to them regularly and make sure that they know what to do in a fire, make sure you practice fire drills with them, and be sure that they are aware of the dangers of matches, candles, lighters, and any other ignition source they may come across. Never let children handle fire unsupervised!
Kids aren’t always receptive to safety messages, any parent can tell you that. Safety doesn’t have to be separate from fun, however! The Monster Guard App by Disney and the American Red Cross is a great way to educate your kids about fire and disaster safety!