Fire can be a serious threat to your safety and the safety of your home. There are roughly 500,000 incidents of structural fires per year in the United States alone. When disaster strikes, people tend to panic. If you have a plan in place beforehand, you will be more likely to escape harm.
First and foremost, when drawing up a fire escape room plan for your home, be sure that all household members are part of the planning process. Family members, roommates, even tenants that you rent to should be involved with the planning. This will ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to safety. Once everyone is gathered together, draw a basic map of your residence as well as the surrounding property. This does not have to be perfect. The only thing to be sure of is to have the rooms, doors, windows, and stairs labeled. If your residence has more than one floor, be sure to include all levels.
Once you have the map of your home drawn up, you should agree upon at least two exits that can be safely used. Be sure that the exits are not right next to each other. This is to ensure that in the event one exit becomes blocked, you will still be able to escape through the other. If you have multiple floors, designate a window or two on each floor to use for escape. Purchase a folding escape ladder for each of those windows. Make sure every household member knows how to safely use the ladder.
Once you have your multiple routes and exits established, the next step is to agree upon a meeting place outside of your home. This spot should be a safe distance from your home to avoid any flames or debris. A tree in the front yard or perhaps the mailbox will work fine. If your home is near any bodies of water, steep hills, or a busy road, be certain to avoid these dangerous spots when choosing a meeting place.
If you have children, seniors, or individuals with disabilities, make a plan to help them safely escape a fire. If someone with limited mobility resides in your home, consider moving him or her to a first floor bedroom. For children, teach them the escape plan so they can safely get out on their own in the event that you cannot assist them.
Once you have these steps completed, practice an escape. Practice this as many times as needed until everyone can confidently follow the plan. Continue to practice once every six months. Some people also choose to have “surprise” fire drills. These steps will ensure that you and your loved ones have a plan in case of emergency.