Home fire escape planning
When planning a home fire escape plan, draw a floor plan of your home to start with. Show all windows, doors, halls, stairs and bedrooms. Make sure all rooms, especially bedrooms, have at least two exits. Draw arrows on your plan to indicate normal exits. Mark emergency escape routes with lighter arrows. These alternative exits are to be used when normal exits are blocked. Test your escape routes.
Make sure windows can be opened easily and that screens and storm windows can be removed from the inside. If your bedrooms are on the second floor, provide folding escape ladders.
To account for everyone's safety, select and list on your plan a definite meeting place outside the house. Do not waste time gathering valuables or getting dressed. Assign someone to assist infants, elderly and handicapped family members.
Be prepared to call the fire department from a neighbor's house by dialing 101. Give the communication dispatcher your name, address, phone number and type of emergency you have. Be clear and try to relax when answering questions from the dispatcher because if you are not this may delay the fire departments arrival. Always hang up after the dispatcher has hung up.
Hold fire drills in your home. Have all family members participate. This will test the practicality of your plan and give you a chance to practice escaping.
Rember to crawl low under the smoke when exiting a home or your place of business. Smoke is the reason most people die in a house fire. Also remeber to feel the door with the back of your hand before exiting or going through the door. If it's HOT - DON'T GO THROUGH IT.
And remember EDITH (Exit Drills In The Home).
In the event you need the services of fire, police, or paramedics, dial 101
. A dispatcher will answer the phone and ask you some
questions about the emergency. Some of those questions are:
Emergency dispatchers stress that remaining calm is the thing you can do to help them.
Fire exits are designed to provide continuous and unobstructed means of exiting out of a building. An exiting system in any building may include intervening aisles, doors, doorways, gates, corridors, exterior exit balconies, ramps, stairways, smoke proof enclosures, horizontal exits, exit passageways, exit courts and yards. Required exit doors must not be looked when a building is occupied. Escape routes should be posted at work stations and updated when changes are made. Remind personnel to observe the best escape route from their location. A fire drill/walk through is also a good idea and should be done on a regular basis (once per year minimum).
Portable fire extinguishes apply an "agent" that will cool burning fuel, restrict or remove the oxygen, or interfere with the chemical reaction so the fire cannot continue to burn. Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. Consider where you need fire extinguishes. Identify hazardous areas where fires are likely to start and which type of fire would occur in each area.
Extinguishes should be kept in a handy location but remote from the anticipated fire are. Everyone in the family should know where the extinguishes are and how to use them.
For class A fires in ordinary combustibles, such as wood, paper, cloth, upholstery, plastics or similar materials, use water or dry chemical type extinguishes.
For class B fires fueled by flammable liquids and gases, kitchen greases, paint, oil, kerosene or gasoline, use a dry chemical, carbon dioxide or halon extinguisher. Try and smother the fire if it is small and in you kitchen or garage.
For class C fire involving live electrical equipment or wires, use a dry chemical, carbon dioxide or halon extinguisher. The best way to attack this type of fire is disconnect the electrical supply. Never apply water to any electrical fire.
An ABC fire extinguisher will extinguish all three classes of fire and is the best type to have in your home. Check your fire extinguisher for detailed instructions on how to operate your particular type. The minimum rating for multi-purpose use around the home or small office is 2A:10BC.
Most experts agree that the best way to understand a childs fire setting is by looking at the context and motivation for the fire behavior.
There are four types of fire setting and for each type, a different strategy is used to stop the behavior.
The first type is curiosity, usually found in 3 to 7 year old children. The child is curious and plays with fire to learn about it. Fire safety education is recommended.
The second type is a crisis, usually with 5 to 10 year olds involving a sudden change in life or recent trauma. The child is using fire as a "cry for help" to show his inability to cope with sudden change. Recommended treatment is counseling and education.
The third type is a delinquent. This usually involves children 10 to 14 years old. A child sets fire to impress peers, out of boredom, defiance or peer pressure. Restitution and education will help.
The fourth type is a problem fire setter, usually 7 to 12 years old with a history of school and social problems. Counseling is recommended.
Parents can help prevent most fire setting by keeping matches and lighters out of reach of children. Presently, very little pressure is required to ignite a disposable lighter, thus young children have the ability and strength to ignite a flame. Disposable lighters are the right size for a childs hand. Color awareness is beginning for many children at the age of 3 to 4, and disposable lighters come in very bright colors which may contribute to children thinking they are toys. Parental supervision needs to be considered.
Many parents strive to always keep matches and lighters out of reach of young children. There is a strike zone from the floor to an adultŐs shoulder height. This is an area which should be free of matches and lighters.
If an older child is curious about matches, show him/her the proper and safe way to use them, but only when an adult is present. Explain how matches and lighter's are tools not toys.
Often, when children play with fire, nothing happens. They develop a false sense of control over it. Fire play is very serious. Don't assume it is just a phase and will pass by itself. Children who play with fire can be dangerous to them selfs and others. Because children usually don't understand why they are setting fires, they can't stop without help.
For assistance with a child that you may consider a current or future fire setter contact your local fire department.
Make fire safety a “family business” by involving the entire family in a fire safety inspection. Here’s a comprehensive checklist to use as a guide.
· Matches store out of reach of
· No overloaded outlets or extension
· No curtains or towel racks close to
· Flammable liquids (cleaning fluids,
contact adhesives, etc.) or aerosols stored away from the range or other heat
source. (Remember, even a pilot light can set vapors on fire.)
· No attractive or frequently used
items stored above the range where someone could get burned reaching for them
(especially small children in search of cookies or other goodies).
· No worn or frayed appliance or
Room, Family Room, Den, Bedrooms
· Matches and lighters stored out of
reach of children.
· Use only large ashtrays (small
ashtrays are too dangerous.)
· Empty ashtrays frequently (when all
signs of heat and burning are gone.)
· Fireplace kept screened and cleaned
· Replace worn or frayed extension
cords or other electrical cords.
· No extension cords run under rugs or
carpets or looped over nails or other sharp objects that could cause them to
· Sufficient air space around TV,
stereo and other electronic equipment to avoid overheating.
· Heating equipment kept three feet
away from curtains, furniture, and papers.
· No overloaded outlets or extension
Garage, Storage Areas
· No newspapers or other rubbish
stored near furnace, water heater, or other heat source.
· No oily, greasy rags stored, except
when kept in labeled and sealed non-glass containers (preferably
· No gasoline stored in the house or
basement. (It should be stored away from the house in an out-building and only
in safety cans that have flame arresters and pressure-relief
· No flammable liquids stored near
workbench or pilot light or in anything other than labeled, sealed metal
containers. (This includes varnish, paint remover, paint thinner, contact
adhesives, cleaning fluids.)
· No overloaded outlets or extension
· All fuses of the correct
Make sure all family members know what to do in the event of a fire. Draw a floor plan with at least two methods of fire escape in very room. Make a drawing for each floor. Dimensions do not need to be correct. Make sure the plan shows important details: stairs, hallways and windows that can be used as fire escape routes.
Test windows and doors-do they open easy enough? Are they wide enough. Or tall enough?
Choose a safe meeting place outside the house.
Practice alerting other members. It is a good idea to keep a bell and flashlight in each bedroom.
Conduct a family meeting and discuss the following topics:
Always sleep with the bedroom doors closed. This will keep deadly heat and smoke out of bedrooms, giving you additional time to escape.
Find a way for everyone to sound a family alarm. Yelling, pounding on walls, whistles, etc. Practice yelling "FIRE!"
In a fire, time is critical. Don't waste time getting dressed, don't search for pets or valuables. Just get out!
Roll out of bed. Stay low. One breath of smoke or gases may be enough to kill.
Practice evacuating the building blindfolded. In a real fire situation, the amount of smoke generated by a fire most likely will make it difficult to see.
Practice staying low to the ground when escaping.
Feel all doors before opening them. If a door is hot, get out another way.
Learn to stop, drop to the ground, roll if clothes catch fire.
Check smoke detectors once a month and change the batteries at least once a year. Smoke detectors sense abnormal amounts of smoke or invisible combustion gases in the air. They can detect both smoldering and burning fires. At least one smoke detector should be installed on every level of a structure. Purchase smoke detectors labeled by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM).
Post emergency numbers near telephones.
Be aware that if a fire threatens your home, you should not place the call to emergency services from inside the home. It is better to get out and place the call to fire authorities from a safe location outside the home.
After a fire emergency
Give first aid where appropriate. Seriously injured victims should be transported to professional medical help immediately. Stay out of the damaged building. Return only when fire authorities say it is safe.
Make sure you have a safe fire escape method for all situations
You may have installed a very expensive home security system. But if you cannot escape the burning structure you have a false level of confidence.
Additional Tips For Fire Safety
Keep portable and space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that may burn.
Never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to sleep. Children and pets
should always be kept away from them.
Smokers Need To Be Extra Careful
Never smoke in bed or when you are sleepy. Carelessly discarded cigarettes are a leading cause of fire deaths in the United States.
Be Careful Cooking
Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Keep the handles of your pots turned inward so they do not over-hang the stove. If grease catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and smother the flames, then turn off the burner.
Matches and Lighters are Dangerous
In the hands of a child, matches and lighters can be deadly! Store them where kids can't reach them, preferably in a locked area. Teach children that matches and lighters are "tools" and should only be used by adults.
Use Electricity Safely
If an appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately and have it repaired. Replace frayed or cracked electrical cords and don't overload extension cords. They should not be run under rugs. Never tamper with the fuse box or use the improper size fuse.
Cool a Burn
If someone gets burned, immediately place the wound under cool water for 10 to 15 minutes. If the burn blisters or chars, see a doctor immediately!
Be Careful of Halogen Lights
If you have halogen lights, make sure they are away from flammable drapes and low ceiling areas. Never leave them on when you leave your home or office.
Fire can engulf a house in 60 seconds!
Make sure you have a safe and quick method of escape!