Almost all businesses will have a Fire Plan, but what about when we are at home? In this article we look at the importance of a fire escape plan, how to create one with useful tips and advice.
The shocking fact is in England alone there were 334 fire related deaths in 2018, the Government claim. Every home should have a fire escape plan in place in case the worst was to happen. Most of us will never have to use it, thankfully, but it is important to prepare – just in case.
The Importance of a Fire Escape Plan
But how do you begin to put a plan together? Here is some pointers:
Get Everyone Involved
Yes, even your children, you never know who will be the first to notice something isn’t right and everyone should know what the fire escape plan is.
Remember raise the alarm, get out and stay out!
Walk through your home together discussing possible escape routes. Most fires happen at night so it is likely the entrance doors will be locked. Make sure you have a central location where keys are kept (out of sight of doors and windows to prevent opportunist theft) and everyone knows where they are kept. If you have members of your household with mobility limitations, discuss who will be assigned to them and how you can assist them to evacuate.
Choose an outdoor meeting point, where, should you become separated you will all meet up. Make sure it is a safe distance from your home. Make sure children know what to do in the event of a fire i.e. tell an adult and call 999 and ask for the Fire Service.
Make sure your children know your address, so if they are the one making the emergency call, they can direct the Fire Brigade to your home. Discuss safe routes to evacuate the property and if exits are blocked talk about which room you could stay in. Try to choose one with a telephone or one where mobiles are kept on charge. Discuss how the door will need to be closed and how to place clothing or soft furnishings at the bottom of the door to stop smoke ingress.
Education is key to slowing the spread of fire, closing doors will help delay it.
Always choose the safest escape route, the one with the least amount of smoke or fire. Smoke is just as deadly as fire! If you are forced to escape through smoke, stay as low as you can and hold a cloth over your nose and throat to help filter smoke toxins.
Only escape from windows if there is an immediate threat, or if it is safe i.e. a Ground Floor unobstructed window. If windows are locked, use a heavy object and strike in a corner. Windows can be hard to break, so you may have to do so several times. If you are escaping from an upstairs window make sure you throw soft furnishings down to break your fall, use your mattress bedding cushions/pillows, clothing, anything that is going to cushion your landing. If there is more than one adult, then one should go first before attempting to evacuate children. Lower each child down as far as is safe before releasing to the adult below to catch.
Make yourselves known
Shout for help! This is not the time to be shy. Raising the alarm in this manner will alert fire fighters to your exact location and if you haven’t managed to call 999 others can do so for you.
This is a tough subject to tackle with your family, you may feel you don’t want to frighten or alarm your children. However, if everyone knows what to expect, what they should do and you have discussed escape routes it will give you all a much clearer idea of how to evacuate as quickly as possible.
As a part of your Fire Escape Plan we cannot stress firmly enough how important it is to have working smoke alarms – test them once a month the early warning these devices give could save you and your families lives!
Until next time… stay safe!