This year’s NFPA Fire Prevention Week campaign is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” The goal is to educate people about the small but important steps they can take to keep themselves, their family, and those around them safe. The campaign highlights the importance of making a fire escape plan for your home.
EHS professionals and others with safety responsibilities spend a good deal of time focusing on emergency evacuation plans for the workplace. However, the importance of evacuation or escape planning in the event of a home fire is often overlooked. According to an NFPA survey, only one out of every three households have developed and practiced a home escape plan.
Did you know that in a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds? Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out. If you don’t have a plan for your home, Fire Prevention Week is the perfect opportunity to create one!
NFPA’s website has great resources and materials for creating a home fire escape plan. Steps in creating an escape plan include:
- Draw a basic floor plan or map of your home showing all doors and windows.
- Visit each room in your house and find two ways out (usually a door and a window) and a path from each exit route to the outside; mark them on the floor plan.
- Make sure that all doors and windows can open easily so you can use them to get outside.
- Make sure your home has working smoke alarms; test them to see if they work and mark them on the floor plan. Smoke alarms should be in each bedroom, outside each bedroom, and on every level of the home.
- Pick a meeting place outside in front of your home at a fixed location that is a safe distance away.
- Talk about your escape plan with everyone in your home; post it for a regular reminder.
- Make sure everyone knows how to call the emergency phone number for your fire department.
- Practice your home fire drill at least twice a year
When it comes to fire safety, maybe you’re already a hero in your household or community. If not, Fire Prevention Week is a great time to take that first step and make your home escape plan to keep yourself, your family, and those around you safe from a fire.