Home Fire Escape Plan

I am passionate about home and office fire safety.  I'm a risk taker by nature, and I love to play with fire. But I am heart-broken when I hear of needless injuries related to preventable fires. I have to admit I've been burned a few times, but never seriously.  However, my friend's son was recently burned quite badly in a home fire that started in the garage with a legitimate car repair project.  Fortunately, no one lost their life, but the suffering that this family has endured in the past few months has been heavy on my heart.

If you didn't catch Monday's post, start reading there.  Fire safety always starts with prevention, and Monday's post contains lots of links and tips to keep you home (and office) safe from accidental fires.  This post is about what to do if you find yourself in the midst of a home or office fire.  I'm keeping it VERY simple.  There are so many possible twists and turns to a home fires that I get bogged down in the details at first.  However, many home fire injuries and fatalities could be avoided by following a few simple rules.

  • Practice your fire plan.  Can everyone in your family tell you what to do and where to meet?  Know who may and may not use a fire extinguisher.  Know who will lead children under 5 years and others who may require assistance.  Everyone should practice two ways of escaping from every room in the house.  Call 9-1-1 immediately!
  • Only use fire extinguishers if the fire is smaller than a small trash can. A home extinguisher only lasts 10-15 seconds.
  • Get down!  Smoke and heat rise to the ceiling.  Fire victims are significantly more likely to perish from smoke inhalation that actual burns. 
  • Check doors before you open them.  If the door or the handle are hot, don't open it.
  • Get out and stay out! Everyone should get out of ANY HOUSE with a fire.  Don't wait.  Don't go to another room.  Don't see IF you need to leave.  Seconds count.  Get out now!
Here are a few other tips to keep in mind.

Know who will respond to your home's fire and how to contact them.  (Some areas do not have 9-1-1 yet.  Some areas don't have public protection and require that you pay and register in advance.)

Sprinklers save lives.  Home installation of a sprinkler system is becoming more affordable, especially during new construction.

Security bars on windows present special considerations for fire escape planning. 

Fire planning and drills are critical for the elderly, in offices, and multi-story or larger buildings.

Fires spread fast.  Seconds count.  You don't have time to make decisions.  You will do what you have practiced.  Watch this 5 minute video that brings it all home.


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