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Fire safety in the home

Develop a family fire escape plan

Develop a family fire escape plan

Cooking and heating are the leading causes of home fires and fire injuries, and winter months are the peak time for fire-related deaths. With Fire Prevention Week celebrating it's 100th anniversary (Oct. 9-15, 2022), it's the perfect time to review and practice fire safety.

Develop a Family Fire Escape Plan

Sketch out a floor plan of your home, including all rooms, windows, interior and exterior doors, stairways, fire escapes and smoke alarms. Make sure that every family member is familiar with the layout.
  • Select two escape routes from each room and mark them clearly on the plan.
  • Find and fix anything in your home that could interfere with a quick escape, such as windows that are stuck or heavy furniture blocking an exit.
  • If you have a multi-story home, consider if you need to purchase fire escape ladders for upstairs bedrooms. If so, they should be part of your fire drill, deployed safely from a ground-floor window for practice.
  • Push the "test button" on a smoke alarm to ensure everyone will recognize the sound of the alarm if it goes off.
  • Parents and caregivers should be aware that children often sleep through the loud sound of a smoke alarm even when the alarm is installed in or near their bedrooms. When planning a family fire drill, make assignments for those who will be responsible for assisting children and others who need help to awaken and respond properly.
  • Ensure that family members with special needs, such as someone who is ill or frail, or small children, have a buddy to help them get out safely. If anyone in the household has a hearing impairment, purchase special smoke alarms that use strobes and/or vibrations to signal a fire.
  • Designate a place to meet outside so that everyone can be accounted and someone can be assigned to go to a neighbor's to call 911.
  • Make copies of the escape plan sketches and post them in each room until everyone becomes familiar with them.
  • Practice makes perfect. Every second counts during a real fire. Hold family fire drills frequently and at various times until the escape plans become second nature.
You can find additional information and resources from the National Safety Council to help you learn more and stay safe in and around your home here.

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