When a property fire occurs, it is vital to know how to act and how to get out quickly. Residents of a building, including children, must learn the necessary skills and knowledge to escape a fire safely by practicing fire drills. Here’s what residents of homes or buildings need to learn in advance about fire safety and emergency evacuation:
Making a Fire Escape Plan
- Everyone in the household should participate. All possible exits and escape routes should be located and included into a floor plan of the home, which should also include the locations of smoke alarms.
- Two exits for each room should be established. The escape routes must be kept clear at all times and the windows must easily open.
- Windows and doors with security bars should have emergency release devices to be able to open them quickly during a disaster.
- A responsible person should be assigned to help children, older people and people with disabilities to escape fires.
- All household members should choose an outside place, such as a mailbox or stop sign, where everyone should meet after escaping the building.
- Kids should be introduced to fire safety children’s books. They are designed to explain basic fire safety concepts to children in a non-threatening way.
What to do When a Fire Breaks Out:
- If smoke is coming through the cracks of the door, the door must not be opened. If smoke is not coming through, but the door and doorknob are hot, everyone should stay in the room and seal the door and air vents with sheets or duct tape to prevent smoke from entering.
- If escaping through the window is not an option, those who are trapped must call 911 or open a window and yell for help. Children must never hide under the bed or in the closet to make it easier for firefighters to find them.
- In case it is safe to open the door during a fire (smoke isn’t entering through the cracks and the door is cool), the safest escape route should be followed, unless the route is blocked by smoke or flames. Everyone should stay as low as possible and find the nearest exit while closing the doors behind to prevent fire from spreading.
- Once everyone is out of the burning building, nobody should go back inside under any circumstances.
Practicing the Fire Drill
- Fire drills should be made as realistic as possible and practiced twice a year with the whole family.
- At the start of a fire drill, the smoke alarm should be activated, and kids must know they should evacuate the home when they hear this sound.
- Children must also be taught that they should stay in the room if there’s heat and smoke beyond the door.
- Individuals should also practice going under ‘pretend smoke’ and reaching the safest exit as quickly as possible.
- Residents of a two-story home must be able to escape from the second floor, too. Escape ladders must be placed in or near windows for additional escape routes.
- Everyone should practice the fire drill enough that they are able to get out of the home via the escape routes in 3 minutes or less.
More information on how a home fire spreads from a single room to the whole building can be found in this article. Older adults are also more vulnerable in a fire. Here are important fire safety tips for older adults. The PuroClean team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mould damage.