Posted on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 at 11:30 am
So far this week, we’ve discussed how every second counts – find 2 ways out and how to make a home fire escape plan.
Now it’s important to practice your escape plan!
First of all, has your household decided on a safe meeting spot outside the home? Your meeting spot should be in the front of the home and should be a spot that remains constant regardless of other circumstances.
Examples of good meeting spots are:
- By a tree
- By a mailbox
- By a neighbor’s house
- By any object that will not change locations from day to day.
Examples of poor meeting spots are:
- By a car
- By a lawn decoration
- By any object that might not be there when you need it.
What if you live in a tall building, like an apartment complex?
Be sure you do the following:
- Know your building’s evacuation plan. It should be posted in places where all residents can see and review it, and building management should hold a fire drill at least once a year. Be sure to participate!
- Identify all exits in your building, and if you’re using an escape planning grid, mark them on your escape plan. Make sure you mark the various stairways too, in case one is blocked by fire.
- Never use the elevator. Always use the stairs to get out. Make sure you practice using the stairs as part of your escape plan. If someone in your household has difficulty climbing down stairs, make sure to incorporate a contingency for this into your plan.
- Stay low! Smoke from fire is toxic and deadly. When you hold your fire drill, everyone should practice getting low and going under the smoke to the exit. If all stairwells are filled with smoke, stay in your apartment and wait for firefighters.
- Seal yourself in for safety. If you can’t exit your building due to smoke or fire, call 911 to report your exact location and gather in a room with a window to await the Fire Department’s arrival. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to create a seal around the door and over air vents in order to keep smoke from coming in.
- Stay by the window. If possible, you should open your windows at the top and the bottom to get fresh air in. Don’t break the window – if smoke enters the room from the outside of the building, you won’t be able to protect yourself.
- Signal to firefighters. Wave a flashlight or light-colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you’re located.
Practice your escape plan regularly so everybody knows exactly what to do in a real emergency!
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