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Fire Escape Plans: Make Sure Your Family Has One & Practices It

Do you and your family have any fire escape plans? If not, learn how to make a plan here to keep your family safe, and how to practice it.


fire truck

Making a plan to get each and every member of your household out in case of a fire is very important.

During the fire itself is not the time to make a plan for how to leave, or to discover you don't have a piece of fire safety equipment you need, such as a fire extinguisher, or working smoke alarm.

Teach Your Kids To Leave Immediately When They Hear A Smoke Alarm

The best way to make sure your entire family stays safe from a fire is to exit the building, or your home, as soon as you hear a smoke alarm go off.

Even if it is a false alarm it is good practice to go ahead and go outside so that the actions are automatic when everyone hears that noise.

How To Make Your Fire Escape Plans

We recently had to make a plan as part of the homework for my son, so I have just updated our plan, which had not been updated since my oldest daughter had the same homework assignment a couple of years ago. (I cringe to have to admit this, but I understand how it can happen!)

Another child has been born in our home since that last plan, so it obviously needed to be updated, and I frankly should have done it sooner.

The first step in making your plan is to get a piece of graph paper for each floor or level in your home, and draw a rough floor plan of your home.

Identify at least two ways to get out of each room of your home in case of fire. (The reason for two is that one way may be blocked because of fire.)

Remember that windows can also be escape routes out of a room or your home. If you do have them as an alternate way of leaving a room though, you need to make sure everyone knows how to use that exit, such as easily opening the window.

You need to also make sure the window is not stuck, opens easily, and that everyone knows how to remove the screen or safety bars to get out. If the window escape route is on an upper floor you may also want to consider a fire escape safety ladder for allowing your loved ones to climb out.

In the alternative, teach your child how to open the window and hang out a sheet, and then reclose the window. This is a signal to firefighters that someone is trapped in that room and they will more quickly be able to rescue you with this signal.

Once you actually exit the house you also need to have a family meeting place designated where you will all meet. Make sure your kids know where that meeting place is too.

Talk Early, Talk Often And Practice Your Plan With All Family Members

I obviously, from my old fire escape plan, need to be talking more to my children about fire safety and the plans for how to get out of the house.

Ideally you would have a fire drill in your home at least every six months, which is something I want to begin doing with my children.

It is important to actually practice the skills, instead of just talk about them, especially for kids. Kids don't necessarily understand how to read a floor plan, but actually walking around and discussing it helps them to comprehend and remember it.

Practicing, and not just talking about it, is also important to make sure your plans will actually work to help your family escape. Here is an example from my own life of why practicing is so important. One of the ways out of our home is a sliding glass door we normally keep locked. As part of the planning process I showed my son how to unlock and open the door. However, I also realized I needed to clean the tracks to help it slide more easily since it was difficult for him to open it. That is definitely not something I wanted to figure out during an actual fire.

Video Giving Tips About Fire Escape Plans

The video below gives tips for making your plans with your family for how to escape from a fire.

It also show how quickly a fire can really spread. Knowing that statistic is one thing, watching it on the video is another. It just makes the need for a plan seem even more important, at least it did for me when I watched it.


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