Fire escape plans: Get out safely

Courtesy of KMC Fire Emergency Services

Imagine what it would be like to wake up at night and find your house is on fire. What would you do? Where would you go? Could you get everyone out safely? Do you know that in less than 30 seconds, a small flame can grow completely out of control and turn into a major fire?

It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick, black smoke. In the event of a fire, it’s important to remember every second counts, which is why you and your family must always be prepared.

Escape plans help you and your family get out of the home safely. And now that school is back in session, it is time to once again prepare and practice your fire escape plan with everyone in your household, including children and those with disabilities.

The National Fire Protection Association offers the following tips to consider when preparing your escape plan:

• Bring everyone in the household together and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. If you live in a household with children, consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.

• Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Test smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries twice a year.

• Always choose the escape route that is safest: the one with the least amount of smoke and heat, but be prepared to escape under toxic smoke if necessary. When you do your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice getting low and going under the smoke to the exit.

• If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with the door closed. If possible, place a towel under the door and call the fire department to alert them to your location in the home. Go to the window and signal for help waving a bright-colored cloth or a flashlight. Do not break the window, but open it from the top and bottom.

• Choose an outside meeting place (like a neighbor’s house, a light post, mailbox or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.

• Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department and teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them, that way any member of the household can call from a neighbor’s home or a cellular phone once safely outside.

• Practice your fire escape plan at night and during the daytime.

• Be fully prepared for a real fire; when a smoke alarm sounds get out immediately. Once you’re out, stay out. Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.

For more information on fire prevention matters, contact the KMC Fire Prevention Office at 480-5940 or 06371-47-5940. If you live on an Army post, contact Army Fire Prevention at 493-4500. In case of an emergency, dial 1-1-2.