How To Create a Fire Safety Plan
Protecting loved ones and members in a household is one of the most responsible things a homeowner or tenant can do. Perhaps locks or security systems are installed, and additional safety measures are put in place to keep out the potential risks that await outside the home. However, it is important consider the dangers that can occur within the confines of the home as well, specifically house fires. While fire damage can be devastating, it is still possible to practice fire safety and create a plan to reduce the risks of damage and injuries.
The Effects of Smoke and Fire Damage
While many can only imagine the damage that a fire can cause, having to experience it first hand can be costly and devastating. Some of these effects include:
- Permanent damage to property from smoke or flames
- Risk of burns and smoke inhalation
- Injury or death
- Potential time, stress and money spent on rebuilding, medical expenses and possible litigation
Thankfully there are many simple steps that can be done to reduce the chances of a fire getting out of control. When it comes to fire safety, prevention is key. This can be done by maintaining:
- Electronics – checking and updating older equipment including frayed wires and any items that can overheat
- Smoke detectors – making sure to have an adequate number of units spaced out around the home, replacing batteries and units, and running tests as needed
- Fire extinguishers – keeping them in areas where there are higher chances of a fire starting, such as the kitchen
- Sprinkler system – having a system that activates to snuff out flames before they get out of hand
- Insurance – having a coverage plan that includes reparations for fire damage
- Heat sources – using these appliances only as directed and only when supervised or in the home
- Designated smoking areas – ensuring that cigarettes, cigars or pipes are only used in ventilated areas with butts and ashes disposed of properly
- Education – Knowledge is power. Teach children or anybody else unfamiliar with these processes and give them the opportunity to practice fire safety
Working Together to Create a Plan
A plan can help ensure that all members of a household are well-informed about what to do in case of an emergency. An effective fire safety plan should include a detailed evacuation plan that:
- Includes a layout of the house
- Has the physical address written for any family members that may not have it memorized
- Know each others phone numbers off by heart in case you get separated
- Is posted, visible and easily accessible for everyone
- Is regularly practiced
- Is shared with everyone and considers any special needs or accommodations
- Emphasizes a quick response time
- Is planned by all members of the household
- Includes alternate exits and escape strategies
- Clearly defines a place to meet after an evacuation
What To Do During a Fire
While discussing an evacuation plan is crucial, members of the household should be informed of what specific strategies to use to stay safe as possible during a fire. It can also be very helpful to have refresher courses in fire safety including reminders of the following steps:
- Call 911! – Don’t wait for a fire to get out of control. Even a small fire can grow significantly in a matter of seconds. If you cannot immediately contain a fire, evacuate, call 911 and inform the operator if anyone is stuck in the home and their specific locations.
- Stop, drop and roll! – This means that if anyone catches on fire, it is important for that person to stop immediately, keep the face covered, lay down on the ground and roll back and forth to help put out any flames.
- Use Signals – If trapped inside, signal for help at a window using something such as lights or highly visible material. Be sure to block any smoke from entering the room by using tape or stuffing clothes, towels, blankets or other types of cloth under doors and vents.
- Using Extinguishers – Use emergency extinguishers to help combat flames until help arrives.
- Using Water – If a water source is accessible, douse or soak hair, skin, clothing and any absorbent materials in water to prevent them from catching fire or to help cover and snuff out smaller flames.
With a situation as stressful as a house fire, it can be easy to become afraid and flustered. However, fear does not have to dominate the situation. By practicing fire safety regularly and having an emergency plan in place, a household can be prepared for the unthinkable. If you need to review your policies we’d be happy to help, feel free to contact us at 410-305-9796.