MAKING A CREDIBLE FIRE ESCAPE PLAN
Most times, we see stories from the news of some deadly house fires and it always seems like an impossibility. But the fact is, I’m the year 2014 alone the fire department from the US responded to precisely 367,500 fires from home residents. Fire outbreak is very common even when we practice all the basics of preventing the same. House fires are always a sad story. Look at the statistics below.
- About 36 people are injured from house fires on a daily basis
- 90% of the deaths related to fire happen in residential areas
- About 7 people perish in home fires every day
- 50% of home-related fires are reported to have happened at night
Home fires spread very quickly and in less than 2 minutes your house could be in flames and toxic clouds of smoke. This is not enough time to find an escape route. In addition, the smoke could cause disorientation no matter how well you know the layout of your house. As if that is not enough, the smoke will deplete the oxygen levels in the air and it might be a little hard for you to breathe hence can become disoriented very easily.
For these reasons, it is necessary to have a well-laid out plan before disaster comes. That’s the whole reason of this article, to enable you to come up with a quick and effective plan in the least possible time. With this, you have assured the safety of your family in case disaster strikes.
- Basic Floor Map of the house
Using either the grid or blank paper provided by the National Fire Protection Associate, draw a map of each and every floor in the house. This includes all the doors and windows in all rooms. Note down the location of the smoke alarms, fire escape masks, kits and fire extinguishers in the floor plan too.
The importance of this grid is to serve as the foundation as you plan the escape techniques. This will be necessary when reviewing the plan so it should have precise accuracy as possible.
- Identify all Possible Escape Routes
With the help of your map, identify all the possible escape routes in the house in case of fire outbreak. Per every room, mark two exits. The most likely escape paths are the patio slider and front door depending with the position of everyone during the fire outbreak. You could consider escaping through the windows but that should be the last option.
After identifying the escape routes, you should analyse the routes to ensure no obstacle will come your way. Such may be stubborn windows, heavy furniture or security bars. These may be a hindrance to effective escape.
- Identify a meeting point outdoors.
They are endless possibilities of where you could meet after the fire outbreak. Could be a stone wall, a light pole or even the mailbox. This ensures that the family members can find each other after the fire escape and anyone who has not availed themselves there is rescued from inside. Make sure the meeting point is at a safe distance from the burning house but still a little closer for everyone to reach within the least period of time.
From here, you can account for all the members and call the fire department as well.
- Hold a discussion with your family to weigh the Escape
During a critical situation like a fire outbreak, it is necessary to prepare your family members like children in advance to avoid panic attacks. They should be trained to use instinctive ways of escape plus the training you’ve offered them to survive the tragedy.
The children especially should be trained on how to use the primary escape routes as well as back routes in case the main ones have obstacles. They should also be taught that under no circumstance should they hide in the closet or under the bed, they should stay somewhere they can be found easily.
- Assign the adults something to do.
In the event of a fire, you should assign all the adults and older children roles to play. For instance, one could be expected to take care of the children on the premises while the other ensures the safety of all the pets nearby. This roleplay ensures that everyone does their part hence high chances of everyone making through safely.
- Implement the skills though Practice
You should not wait until the outbreak of actual fire to measure how effective the skills taught are. Make arrangements on practice where every member of the house should participate actively.
Use a timer and ensure that everyone can make it out of the house in two minutes or less; primary and secondary exits applied. If you follow this practice routine, everything will be manageable in a real-time scenario. Panic attacks will be minimal and all your family members will be capable of surviving this situation.
In conclusion, as much as it may seem like a difficult task to survive home fire outbreaks, with enough practice you could make it through. Make this a routine; spend time with your family making a plan on the escape strategies, review them time after time not forgetting to dedicate time to practice too.