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Fire Escape, Evacuation

Prepare a plan for evacuating regardless of whether you live in a single family home or an apartment building. Your plan should include waking all family members if at night and a safe meeting place outside. Make a diagram and put the plan in writing. This may sound silly but it will help get everyone committed to the escape plan.

Have smoke detectors in all sleeping areas as well as elsewhere in the home. Additionally locate carbon monoxide detectors wherever there might be a source of combustion such as near the furnace, the kitchen, or the fireplace. Renew the batteries at the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time or twice annually. You should also test these warning devices periodically to ensure they work.

Locate all exits including windows. Have a primary escape room (probably out through the bedroom door) and an alternate escape route probably out the bedroom window (make sure you can open it easily). Have a portable fire escape ladder available for each second or third floor bedroom. Locate all windows that will work as exits.

Practice your primary escape route and the back-up escape route for all members of your family just like there is a real fire. Remember “fire drills” at school? Practice a hands and knees crawl to each exit and gather at your meeting point.

Real fire or smoke alarm: Follow your plan for real if there is dense smoke or heat. Remember to crawl as the smoke and heat will be much less near the floor. Feel all doors for heat before opening them. If none, open cautiously and quickly proceed. If the door feels hot, don’t open it and use your alternate escape route. Go to your designated meeting place outside where all family members assemble. Once you’ve escaped and accounted for all your family members, do not reenter the structure. Call 911 and report the fire/smoke/alarm.

Additionally, it’s also a good idea to glance at the fire evacuation plan that’s usually posted on the back of the door (or nearby) of the hotel or motel room you’re staying at, especially if the entrance is inside a hallway and/or above ground level.

Now you can sleep better and you’ll be better prepared in case something should happen.

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