Holding family fire drills for safety sake

Does your family know how to get out of your home in case of a fire? If you don’t have a family fire escape plan in place, or maybe it’s been a while since you discussed and practiced a plan, then now is the time to work with your family on what to do in the event of a fire. Keep the following tips in mind when planning your family’s fire escape plan.

Demonstrate how to get out of the house

When you devise a family fire escape plan, make sure to discuss how to get out of the house with your family. You should also walk through each room with your family to demonstrate escape routes. Do you have a door or window that is difficult to open? If so, demonstrate how to get it opened to your family, and then make a plan to get the door or window fixed or replaced as soon as possible.

Have a plan for every family member

Devise a plan for getting everyone out of the house, especially for those family members who may need assistance leaving the home, including small children, family members with disabilities, and older relatives. If you have pets, then you will want to think of a fire escape plan for them, too. Make sure all family members know what to do and where to go in case of a fire. In addition, remind family members what to do if they smell smoke; for additional tips on fire safety, you can check out Sparky.org from the National Fire Protection Association.

Write down your family’s fire escape plan

It helps to have your family’s fire escape plan in writing so that others may refer to it. According to the National Fire Protection Association, you should also draw a map of each room in your home and mark the windows and doors, as well as at least two exits from each room. You should also write down relevant information, including your family’s meeting spot and contact information for the fire department in your area.

Practice makes perfect

It’s one thing to create a fire escape plan for your family; it’s another thing to actually practice it. Practicing your escape plan keeps it fresh in your family’s minds, and can also bring up the need to make modifications since your last practice run. How often should you practice? According to the U.S. Fire Administration, you should practice your family’s fire escape plan every month. Don’t forget to test your smoke alarms to ensure they are in working order. Testing the smoke alarms will help your family members become familiarized with the sound, too.

Prepare to modify your plan

Your family’s fire escape plan isn’t set in stone. For example, if you have a new family member living in your home, then you will need to make changes to your plan. By practicing every month, you can see what, if any, modifications are necessary and adjust your family’s fire escape plan accordingly.

Don’t forget to share your family’s fire escape plan with those who are staying in your home. Keep a written copy of the plan visible, as well as a map of your home and the designated meeting spot, in a high-traffic area of your home, such as the kitchen. Don’t forget to let overnight guests and frequent visitors, such as babysitters and friends, know what to do in case of a fire. Your local fire department will also have additional tips on creating a fire escape plan for your family.