The reality of a fire is something that every homeowner or renter should think about. Implementing fire safety as well as installing a working fire alarm is important. Nonetheless, it is also imperative to teach family members what to do in the event a fire breaks out.
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The Fire Escape Plan
First off, draft an escape plan, customized to your home layout. This should include:
- Two exit paths from every room.
- A backup escape route in the event the main entrance is blocked by flames or smoke. Alternate exits may involve the easy use of a window with access to a folding ladder leading to the ground or other escape means.
- Your local fire department may advise you of the effectiveness of your individual plan, even coming down to your site to assess the effectiveness of your escape strategy.
- Using your plan, Practice a fire drill with all household members at least two times per year. Include young children in the drill.
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Teach Household Members What to Do in the Event of a Fire:
- Crouch down low and crawl to escape points so as to avoid intense smoke and poison fire gasses that initially accumulate at ceiling level.
- Fire spreads exceedingly rapidly. At the first sound of a fire alarm, every second counts. Move fast!
- Use your alternate escape plan if the primary escape route is blocked by smoke.
- Prior to opening any house door or turning the knob, see if it is hot to the touch. If either one is hot, DO NOT open it. Use your alternate escape route!
- If you note smoke emanating from behind a door, DO NOT open it! Use your alternate escape route instead!
- Open any door slowly, and be prepared to close it swiftly if you see heavy smoke or flames.
- If anyone is unreachable in a fire, exit the home and summon emergency personnel (9-11, fire department). Be sure to inform the operator where the trapped individual is located.
- Once emergency personnel arrives at the scene of the fire, inform responders of any trapped individuals.
- If you are trapped within the fire, close doors, and use fabrics or tape to cover vents, as well as crevices that are around doors; call emergency personnel and tell them the exact location where you are, then wave any light-colored material or flashlight by the window.
- Should your clothes catch fire, stop what you are doing, drop to the floor and roll around again and again so flames will be put out. If this is not possible, repress flames with a towel or blanket.
- If you are burned: immediately treat skin by flooding it for three to five minutes with cold water. Then, wrap a clean, dry cloth around the area and seek immediate medical attention from emergency personnel.
Making an escape plan is one way to ensure your family does not become victim to fire danger. However, fire also wreaks destruction on property structure as well as furniture, equipment, and other items of value. Speak to an experienced independent insurance agent about your home policy and ways to safeguard your belongings.
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Summary: A homeowners’ insurance policy is not the only protection against fire that you need. Learn how to develop a lifesaving escape plan for your family in the event fire targets your residence.