Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fire Escape Plans

Plan for two ways to escape from each room.
Practice escape plans every month. The best plans have two ways to get out of each room. If the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke, you will need a second way out. A secondary route might be a window onto an adjacent roof or using an Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approved collapsible ladder for escape from upper story windows. Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly and that security bars can be properly opened and that they have a quick-release latch and that everyone knows how to open them. Also, practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.

When a fire occurs, do not waste any time saving property. Take the safest exit route, but if you must escape through smoke, remember to crawl low, under the smoke and keep your mouth covered. The smoke contains toxic gases which can disorient you or, at worst, overcome you.
Plan for everyone in your home-including babies and others who need help to escape.

Pick a place to meet after you escape to check that everyone got out.

Designate a meeting location away from the home, but not necessarily across the street. For example, meet under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or front sidewalk to make sure everyone has gotten out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe. Designate one person to go to a neighbor's home to phone the fire department.

Involve children in making and practicing your escape plan.
Teach children to never hide during a fire-they must get out and stay out.
Clear toys, boxes, and other debris from exits.

Never open a door that feels hot. Escape another way.
When you come to a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and door frame to make sure that fire is not on the other side. If it feels hot, use your secondary escape route. Even if the door feels cool, open it carefully. Brace your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. If heat and smoke come in, slam the door and make sure it is securely closed, then use your alternate escape route.

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