Develop a fire escape plan for Home Safety Month in June
Fires and burns are the third leading cause of unintentional home injury and related deaths, according to the Home Safety Council’s State of Home Safety in America Report.Fire safety and survival begins with everyone in a household being prepared. The safety report found that only 54 percent of families with children have discussed what to do in case of a home fire. The Home Safety Council recommends the following guidelines for developing a home fire escape plan:n Early warning is a key element of a fire escape plan. Every home needs working smoke alarms on each story and protecting every place that people sleep. The Home Safety Council recommends installing additional smoke alarms inside all sleeping rooms.n Sketch out a floor plan of the home, including all rooms, windows, interior and exterior doors, stairways, fire escapes and smoke alarms. Make sure that every family member is familiar with the layout.n Identify and remedy anything in the home that could possibly interfere with the ability to get out quickly in an emergency, such as windows that are stuck or heavy furniture blocking an exit.n Designate a primary and secondary exit. For multi-story homes, consider purchasing fire escape ladders for upstairs bedrooms. If so, they should be part of the fire drill, deployed safely from a ground-floor window for practice.n Push the “test button” on a smoke alarm to ensure everyone will recognize the sound of the alarm.n Select two escape routes from each room and mark them clearly on the plan.n Ensure that family members with special needs, such as someone who is ill or frail, or small children, have a buddy to help them get out safely. If anyone in the household has a hearing impairment, purchase special smoke alarms that use strobes and/or vibrations to signal a fire.n Designate a place to meet outside so that everyone can be accounted and someone can be assigned to go to a neighbor’s to call 911.n Make copies of the escape plan sketches and post them in each room until everyone becomes familiar with them.n Hold family fire drills frequently and at various times until the escape plans become second nature. Practice makes perfect. Every second counts during a real fire. Once an escape process has been mastered, hold a drill when family members are sleeping to test each family member’s ability to waken and respond to the smoke alarm.n Assign a buddy to help waken any family member who does not waken on his or her own during the drill. Young children are especially susceptible to heavy sleeping and may not awaken.
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