October 6 – 12 is National Fire Prevention Week
Home Fire Escape Planning and Practice
Home fire escape planning and drills are an essential part of fire safety. A home fire escape plan needs to be developed and practiced before a fire strikes.
Home fire escape planning should include the following:
- Drawing a map of each level of the home, showing all doors and windows
- Going to each room and pointing to the two ways out
- Making sure someone will help children, older adults, and people with disabilities wake up and get out
- Teaching children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them
- Establishing a meeting place outside and away from the home where everyone can meet after exiting
- Having properly installed and maintained smoke alarms
Home fire escape practice should include the following:
- Pushing the smoke alarm button to start the drill
- Practicing what to do in case there is smoke: Get low and go. Get out fast.
- Practicing using different ways out and closing doors behind you as you leave
- Never going back for people, pets, or things
- Going to your outdoor meeting place
- Calling 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone
- Smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire.
- Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
- Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
- Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
- Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Thanksgiving is the leading day for fires involving cooking equipment.
- The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly and stay in the home.
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop.
- Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months.
- Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires.
- All heaters need space. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from heating equipment.
- Have a 3-foot (1-meter) “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Purchase and use only portable space heaters listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
- Have a qualified professional install heating equipment.
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year.
If a wildfire is threatening your home:
- Create a plan for evacuation that includes alternate routes out of the danger area.
- Have prepacked kits with essentials such as medicine, family records, credit cards, a change of clothing, and food and water.
- Create a family communication plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication.
- Prepare a plan for the care of pets and other animals.
- Sign up for wildfire alerts.
- Take steps to protect family, friends, or neighbors who have disabilities.
- Stay aware of local fire conditions. When told to evacuate, go promptly. If you feel unsafe, do not wait for an evacuation order—leave immediately.