One of the most popular tips for fire safety is to create a fire escape plan. Whether you’re creating a plan for your home or apartment, or for a business, you need to know that it will keep you safe no matter what.
Here’s how to create the best fire escape plan, and put it into practice.
Basic Escape Planning Tips
Consider the exit points: Wherever your building is, you need exit points out of as many rooms as possible. Make a plan of your home, and see where the exit points are. Remember, windows work as exit points as well. If you have children, show them the plan and how they can get out, should they need to.
Walk through the plan: Once you’ve determined the exits, walk around the building to see whether you can easily get out through them. Are the windows and doors easily opened? Adjust your plan if needed.
Prepare visitors with the escape plan: Whether you have house guests or clients visiting the office, they need to be made aware of the fire escape plan. Show them where the exits are, and ensure they get out safely if a fire does occur.
Accessing security bars: If your windows or doors have security bars on them, you need to be able to release them easily from the inside. They should have an emergency release device on the inside, so you can get out if needs be. If they don’t have this, have them installed. It won’t compromise the security of the bars, but it will ensure you can get out in an emergency.
Keep fire detecting equipment in good condition: You must have functioning smoke alarms located throughout your building. NFPA guidelines state all detectors should be linked, so if a fire is detected in one area, all detectors should sound.
Create an assembly point: Decide where you will meet up again once you have escaped the building. If everyone knows where the assembly point is, you’ll be able to check everyone has made it out.
Home Planning Tips
Check your street number: Go outside and check to see whether your house number is easily visible from the street. If it’s not, install house numbers near the street, or paint it on the curb. This will show firefighters where your house resides without a long search.
Keep all the family in mind: If there are people in your home that aren’t able to move as easily, you need to assign someone to them in the event of a fire. This includes infants, older adults, or those with limited mobility.
Install smoke detectors in all sleeping rooms: If a fire breaks out at night, you want to make sure everyone is alerted. Install smoke detectors in every bedroom so they will wake you up in the event of a fire.
Choose a good assembly point: A good place to meet up after a fire is a neighbor’s house, a light post, or a stop sign. Use this as an obvious safe point that everyone can use to find each other.
Office Planning Tips
Keep a guest registry: If you regularly have guests in the office, ensure they sign in when they visit. This helps you keep track of who’s coming in and out. If there is a fire, you’ll know exactly who was in the building at the time.
Inform everyone of the plan: Once you have a plan, ensure everyone in the office knows about it. Show them the written plan, and put up signs marking the exits on every floor. Your job is to ensure everyone knows what to do, should a fire occur.
Keep fire pulls in plain sight: If a fire does break out, you want to be able to alert everyone of it quickly. Keep all fire pulls in plain view at all times. Plants, stacked boxes, and other equipment can easily block them, so ensure this isn’t happening in your building.
Testing Your Plan
Now that you have a plan, you need to test it to ensure it works. Here’s how to do so.
Practice regularly: It’s best to practice a fire drill at least twice a year. Make it as realistic as possible, so you can get the most out of the practice.
Always choose safe escape routes: When looking to exit a building, choose the safest possible escape route. The safest route is the one that has the least smoke and heat. In some cases though, you’ll need to get out through smoke, so practice getting low to move through a room and out.
Remember to close doors: As you leave the building, practice closing doors behind the last person to leave. This helps slow the spread of fire and smoke, making your exit as safe as possible. It also gives you more time to escape.
Practice ‘sealing’: In your plan, you should have a plan for ‘sealing‘ yourself in. Sometimes fire and smoke won’t allow you to leave, so you’ll need to create a safe space in the home until help arrives. Close all doors between you and the fire, and use duct tape or towels to stop smoke from getting in through cracks in the door. Don’t forget to cover air vents when you do this. Practice this, so you know what to do should you need to seal yourself in for safety.
Prepare children for a drill: When involving children in a fire drill, let them know what will happen during the drill. If they are prepared, they won’t be frightened during the drill and will be able to practice what to do. If planning a home drill at night, ensure someone is ready to wake them up, should the smoke alarms not awaken them.
With these tips, you should be able to create a good fire escape plan for your house, apartment, or workplace. Have the plan drawn up now, and ensure that you practice it regularly. Follow this advice and you’ll be prepared, no matter what happens.