E XIT D RILLS I N T HE H OME
Develop and Practice a Home Fire Escape Plan
Fire can grow and spread very quickly. In a typical home fire, you may have as little as two minutes to escape once the smoke alarm sounds. Knowing how to use those minutes wisely can make a life-saving difference. Developing and practicing a home fire escape plan will help you snap into action immediately if the smoke alarm sounds, so you can get out quickly and safety.
In 1995, 3640 Americans died in homefires. That's roughly 10 people a day. Tens of thousands more were injuried. People can survive even major fires in their homes if they are alerted to the fire and get out quickly and stya out.
10 Tips for Fire Safety
- Install smoke detectors and keep them in working order.
- Make an escape plan and pratice it.
- Consider installing am automatic fire-sprinkler system.
- In a fire, crawl low under smoke
- Smokers' safety - Don't smoke in bed, use ashtrays
- Cook safely - Never leave kitchen when food is cooking
- Keep matches and lighters out of sight
- Use electricity safely
- Space Heaters - keep everything flamable at least 3 feet (1 meter) away
- If your cloths catch fire - Stop, Drop, and Roll - Cool the burn and call for HELP!
Basic home fire escape messages
Following are guidelines for developing and practicing a thorough home fire escape plan:
- Make sure to have at least one smoke alarm on each level of the home and in or near each sleeping area. Test the alarms every month by pushing the test button, and replace the batteries once a year or when the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low. (Note: Newer smoke alarms have a signal repetition pattern of three beeps, followed by a one and a half second pause.)
- When entering other buildings, including other people's homes, ask what type of emergency alarm system is in place. If it sounds, act immediately.
- Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark all doors and windows, and the location of each smoke alarm. If windows or doors have security bars, equip them with quick-release devices.
- Locate two escape routes from each room. The first way out would be the door, and the second way out could be a window.
- As you exit your home, close all doors behind you to slow the spread of fire and smoke.
- If your exit is blocked by smoke or fire, use your second exit to escape. If you must escape through smoke, stay low and crawl under the smoke to safety. Smoke will rise to the ceiling, leaving cooler, cleaner air close to the floor. Crawl on your hands and knees, not belly, because heavier poisons will settle in a thin layer on the floor.
- If you live in a high-rise building, use the stairs — never the elevator — in case of fire.
- Choose a meeting place a safe distance from your home and mark it on the escape plan. A good meeting place would be a tree, telephone pole, or a neighbor's home. In case of fire, everyone should gather at the meeting place.
- Make sure the street number/address of your home is visible to firefighters.
- Memorize the emergency number of the local fire department. Once outside, call that number immediately from a nearby or neighbor's phone, or use a portable or cellular phone you can grab quickly on the way out.
- Practice your escape drill at least twice a year.
- NEVER go back inside a burning building!
Plan Your Escape
When a fire occurs, there is no time for planning. Sit down with your family today and make a step-by-step plan for escaping from a fire.
Draw a floor-plan of your home,
marking two ways out of every room - especially sleeping areas. Discuss the escape routes with every member of your household.
A Meeting Place
Pick a place outside your home where everyone will meet after exiting. A good meeting place would be a tree, light or telephone pole, or mailbox.
outside your home where every member of the household will gather after escaping a fire to wait for the fire department. This allows you to count heads and inform the fire department if anyone is trapped inside the burning building.
Practise your escape plan
at least twice a year. Have a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone to be monitor and have everyone participate. A fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly, but carefully.
Make your exit drill realistic. Pretend that some exits are blocked by fire and practise alternative escape routes. Pretend that the lights are out and that some escape routes are filling with smoke.
Make sure everyone in the household can unlock all doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Windows or doors with security bars need to be equipped with quick-release devices and everyone in the household should know how to use them.
People who have difficulty moving should have a phone in their sleeping area and, if possible, should sleep on the ground floor.
If you live in a two-storey house, apartment buildings, dormitories, and high-rises.
If you must escape from a second-storey window, be sure there is a safe way to reach the ground. Make special arrangements for children, older adults and people with disabilities. If you live in an apartment building or dormitory (up to four stories), make sure it's protected by building-wide fire detection and alarm systems, and check with your apartment manager to ensure that those systems are regularly tested and working properly.
If you live in a high-rise, count the number of doors between your apartment and the two nearest exits. If you discover fire, sound the fire alarm and call the fire department. Leave the area quickly, taking your key and closing all doors behind you. If the building has a voice enunciation system, follow its instructions precisely, unless doing so puts you in immediate danger. If fire or smoke blocks your exits, stay in your apartment and cover all cracks and vents (using wet towels, duct tape, linens, clothing, and so forth) where smoke could enter. Telephone the fire department, even if firefighters are already at the building, and tell them where you are. Signal to firefighters for help with a light cloth. If possible, open the window at the top and bottom, but be ready to shut the window immediately.
Test doors before opening them. While kneeling or crouching at the door, reach up as high as you can and touch the door, the knob and the space between the door and its frame with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, use another escape route. If the door is cool, open it with caution.
If you are trapped, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the doors with towels or blankets to keep out smoke. Wait at a window and signal for help with a light-coloured cloth or a flashlight. If there is a phone in the room, call the fire department and tell them exactly where you are.
Get Out Fast
In case of fire, do not stop for anything. Do not try to rescue possessions or pets. Go directly to your meeting place and then call the fire department from a neighbour's phone. Every member of your household should know how to call the fire department.
Crawl low under smoke. Smoke contains deadly gases and heat rises. During a fire, cleaner air will be near the floor. If you encounter smoke when using your primary exit, use your alternate escape plan. If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees keeping your head 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) above the floor.
And Stay Out
Once you are out of your home, do not go back for any reason. If people are trapped, the firefighters have the best chance of rescuing them. The heat and smoke of a fire are overpowering. Firefighters have the training, experience and protective equipment needed to enter burning buildings.
Play it Safe
Smoke detectors. More than half of all fatal home fires happen at night while people are asleep. Smoke detectors sound an alarm when a fire starts, alerting people before they are trapped or overcome by smoke. With smoke detectors, your risk of dying in a home fire is cut nearly in half.
Install smoke detectors outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home, including the basement. Test smoke detectors monthly. If your detector is more than 10 years old, replace it.
- You can't hide from fire!
Nevre try to hide from a fire. Follow your escape paln to get out, and stay out. If you live in a high-rise building, consult your building management or fire department to know what to do in advance.
- Crawl under smoke!
If you see any smoke when you're escaping, try another way out. If you have to escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees with your head 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 centimeters) above the floor. The air will be cleanest, coolest, and safest there.
- Don't stop!
When you hear a smoke alarm leave the building immediately. Don't try to save anything. Go to your meeting place so the adults know that you are safe. Never go back into a burning building.
Change the batteries in your SMOKE Detector when you change the clocks. Twice a year!!!!