How to Create a Fire Escape Plan
Richardson Fire Department responded to 6,104 fires in 2020. Though fires don’t happen every day they do come on suddenly and without warning. Smoke is an immediate and grave threat to anyone in the home or building. If you don’t already have an escape plan for your family, take the time this week to put one together. We’ll guide you through what a fire escape plan involves.
Plan It Out and Write It Down
You need a written plan so that you can communicate protocol with members of your household. Instructions should include:
- Where the best exits are.
- How to avoid smoke inhalation.
- Feeling the doors for heat before opening the door.
- Who is responsible for small children and disabled adults (it’s a good idea to delegate this to someone who has a bedroom close to those who need help.)
- What to do about pets.
- Warnings to all that they should not re-enter the burning structure.
- Where the meeting place is (should be a place outside the structure that is not too close such as across the street).
There are several things you should check for ahead of time.
- Smoke detectors: Do they work? Test the alarm twice a year and replace as needed. Some use daylight savings time changes as a reminder to put fresh batteries in smoke alarms.
- Doors and windows: Make sure each exit opens easily. You don’t want to run into a jam when you are trying to get out. Remove locks from children’s doors so adults will not be locked out when there is a fire emergency.
- House number visibility: Can it easily be found by first responders?
- Important documents: You will not have time to gather all of your passports, social security cards, birth certificates, and precious family photos. Lock them up in a fireproof box.
Acting it out may seem silly at first, but it helps people remember the steps. Plan to do this rehearsal with your group at least twice per year.
Familiarize your group with the sound of the fire alarm. If you have a carbon monoxide alarm as well, help everyone understand the difference between alerts.
Plan for accommodations for members with special needs such as a deaf person. Small children may not wake to alarms, and it’s been noted that they are more likely to wake to the sound of a familiar voice. Have someone designated to locate and lead small children out of the house.
Have everyone practice opening and exiting each door and window you’ve outlined in your plan. Remind them to feel doors for heat before they open them, and go over best practices to avoid smoke inhalation (example: get down low and crawl out of the home).
The final drill involves everyone meeting at the rendezvous point. This should be easy for you all to locate in the dark, but not too close to the home. Across the street may be best. Once everyone is at the right spot, remind them to never re-enter the house. Belongings can be replaced, lives cannot.
Call SERVPRO After a Fire
Once everyone is safe and you’ve called your insurance company, you will need a professional North Dallas fire damage restoration company to help you recover. Keep our number handy: (972) 690-1414. We’re faster to any size disaster.