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Top Priorities to Survive a Home Fire Event

When fire strikes it can strike swiftly. The data shows that fire can overwhelm a home with toxic fumes and intense heat in as little as 2 minutes and can overwhelm a person with just a few breaths. There may be no time to identify the threat level, gather residents, and make an escape. Before entertaining discussions of fire suppression equipment and techniques, experts know that early warning and an articulated escape plan are top priorities for surviving a fire event.

Working Smoke Detectors are Critical to Early Warning

About two thirds of deadly fires have one thing in common, no functioning smoke detectors. Having functioning smoke detectors reduces your chance of dying in a fire by greater than 50 percent. Every home should have a detector on each level, including one in the bedroom areas at a minimum. It is further recommended to have a smoke detector inside every bedroom. These nationally recognized guidelines are codified in many jurisdictions and are standard practice in new home construction nationwide.

  • Detectors need to be tested: Test detectors on a routine, monthly, or bi-monthly. Do not rely on a warning chirp to signal a low battery. A low battery alert will not detect a malfunction. If a unit is malfunctioning, by definition, it is not working and is not likely to warn you.

  • Retire old units Smoke detectors need to be replaced after 10 years and if they are combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors they should be replaced every 7 years.

Develop a Fire Escape Plan

An essential step in home fire safety is to draw up a formal “Fire Escape Plan”, communicate it to members of the household, and practice the plan.

Essential Elements of the Plan

  • Identify two paths out of each room and outside the home, a Plan A and B.

  • Plan C, what to do if you are trapped in a room and A and B are blocked or otherwise not an option.

  • Recognize some members of the home may need help executing the plan (children, elderly, etc.).

  • Choose a safe meeting place outside the home to meet and count heads.

  • Communicate and practice the plan.

Schedule a Meeting with Household Members

Communicate a Written Plan to all members of the household, use diagrams, and walk all household members through the plan.

Let Members Voice Concerns Encourage discussion in order to address obstacles and fears. This is a way to engage all members, make sure the plan is understood, and root out misconceptions and unfounded fears.

Practice the Plan

  • Make sure all members of the home are physically able to execute the plan. practice the plan, don’t assume everyone is able and/or knows how to open a window or position an escape ladder.

  • Practice in low light conditions. In a fire event, smoke can cause a very dark environment. It is important to identify issues that may arise in low light.

  • Instruct regarding any proposed safety devices included in the plan.

Details on Developing a Fire Escape Plan: For more detailed information on how to develop a Fire Escape Plan click this link.

Installing and maintaining smoke detectors and Implementing a fire escape plan alone will dramatically improve your chances of surviving a home fire event. Most fire departments, will gladly, by phone or with a home visit, help you implement these priorities in your home. I encourage you to make use of the resources of your local fire department, they will be happy to assist.

Plan for Safety,

Andy, Senior Editor


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17 de out. de 2023
Avaliado com 5 de 5 estrelas.

Great info!

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