5 Steps to Prep for Home Fire Safety
Have a plan and put it in action
Did you know that today’s homes burn faster than ever? Newer homes tend to be built with unprotected, lightweight wood construction and are frequently designed with lots of open spaces and high ceilings — ideal conditions for fire to grow and spread quickly. Also, modern home furnishings are often made with synthetic fibers that generate toxic smoke and gases when they burn, making it hard to see and breathe within moments.Whether you live in an older or a newer home, you may have as little as just two minutes to escape safely from the moment your smoke alarm sounds. Getting out of your home as soon as possible is vital to safety.
While many families may have spent some time thinking about an escape plan, far fewer actually practice it. Going through a fire safety drill means that everyone will know what to do when seconds count.
How can you make your family ready in case of a home fire? Here are five steps to follow. You can also download a sample map and grid from the National Fire Protection Association’s website.
1Check your smoke alarms. Do you have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home? Is there one located in every bedroom and near all sleeping areas? Do you test your alarms monthly to make sure they’re working? Are they interconnected, so that when one smoke alarms sounds, they all do?
2Make a map. Walk through each room as you work on the map, marking two exits from each room (typically a door and a window), and a path from each room’s exit to the outside. Make sure exits remain unblocked by furniture, are clear of clutter and in good working order (i.e., windows open and close easily).
3Pick a meeting place. Decide on a nearby tree or neighbor’s home where everyone will meet after exiting. Make sure the place is far enough away to be out of danger from a fire.
4Review how to call 911 or your community’s emergency number with your children. Make sure everyone knows how to report the fire once they’re safely outside using a mobile phone or by going to a neighbor’s home.
5Practice! Have everyone go into their rooms as if it’s nighttime, sound the alarm, and then practice getting out quickly. Practice more than once to improve exit times and to make sure everyone understands exactly what to do. Then, practice your plan again at least twice a year so it’s fresh in everyone’s minds.
If there are older people living in your home, or anyone with special needs, make sure your plan properly allows for their quick exit. It’s best to involve everyone in practicing your plan to be sure it works for all.
For more tips and info concerning fire safety, or for additional information in Spanish, please explore nfpa.org/fpw.
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