You Can Develop A Home Escape Plan

You Can Develop A Home Escape Plan


According to FEMA, each year more than 4,000 Americans die and more than 25,000 are injured in fires, many of which could be prevented. Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $8.6 billion annually.

According to FEMA, each year more than 4,000 Americans die and more than 25,000 are injured in fires, many of which could be prevented. Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $8.6 billion annually.

It must have been our local fire department which held a seminar at our children’s school about escape plans. You know, how to establish a safe way for your children to leave your home by themselves in the event of an emergency (fire, tornado, earthquake, etc.) and meet up with you at a specified location. For the very youngest children, parental assistance is still needed, but even a responsible four or five year old can shine in the midst of a crisis.

Your Family Fire Escape Plan

How about you and your family? Do your children know their escape route? If you don’t have a plan in place, I urge you to create one now. Let’s take a look at what you need to do in order to ensure your family’s safety.

Smoke Alarms, Carbon Monoxide Detector — Every home should have smoke alarms and they should be tested twice per year, usually when the time changes. Alarms should be strategically placed on each floor, including the basement, and be in the vicinity of sleeping areas as well as in the kitchen and living room. A carbon monoxide detector can save lives too, so consider installing one in a bedroom hallway and placing a second one on a separate floor.

Check Your Home — Walk through your home and check windows and doors to make sure that they are easy to open. You may be able to lift a window, but small hands and weak arms could find this to be a difficult task. Show your children how to exit a window; oil the window tracks if they get stuck. If bedrooms are on the second floor, consider having a fold up ladder in the room that can be used in an emergency situation. Place a “child find” sticker on the exterior of every window to help firefighters find your children.

Practice Your Escape — Besides a main way of exiting a home, your children should know about a secondary way of leaving. If their primary exit is blocked, your children should know of another way out. Making up a map of the home and discussing exit strategy is a good way to show your children what to do, but actually helping them to practice their escape can give them the confidence they need to take action in the event of an emergency.

Meet Up — Once everyone safely leaves the house, you’ll want to have a special meet up place. This could include a large tree in the front yard, a neighbor’s home, or some other easily defined and accessible spot. If you have pets, designate one person to make certain that they can get out, preferably an adult as children may not understand the danger that they are in when looking for a frightened cat or dog.

Call For Help — If you have access to a phone, calling 911 can be done at anytime, but it is more important for you to make sure that your family is safe before summoning assistance. Time is of the essence when an emergency strikes, mere seconds can make a difference between a safe exit or trouble.

Lastly, reward your family members with a special prize each time that they follow your instructions when practicing an emergency drill. You want everyone to take their roles seriously, but rewarding everyone for a job well done will give your family the confidence to do what they need to do in the event of a home emergency.

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Categories: Consumer Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".