The thought of your home or business being engulfed in flames is probably something you don’t want to dwell on. However, it isn’t safe to ignore the possibility of fire, either. What you should do is prepare a fire escape plan for work and home so you’re prepared if a blaze breaks out.
Why is Having and Practicing a Fire Escape Plan So Important?
Fires occur more often than you probably realize. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 350,000 home structure fires occur each year on average, resulting in $6.7 billion dollars in property damage and 2,500 civilian lives lost. The NFPA also reports that more than 113,000 non-residential fires occurred in 2015, resulting in 80 civilian deaths and $3.1 billion in property damage.
You never expect your home or business to contribute to these statistics. To help ensure the people in your home or business can evacuate the building safely, create a fire escape plan and practice it often.
Fire Escape Plan Suggestions for at Home
With no regulations requiring you to post escape routes on the walls, it’s up to you to create your own fire escape plan at home. Here are some suggestions from the NFPA to get you started:
- Draw out your home’s floor plan. Be sure to include all windows and doors in the diagram.
- Visit each room and identify two ways out. Examples include windows, exterior doors and doors leading into a hallway.
- Make sure all windows and doors are unblocked and easy to operate so you can use them to escape in a fire emergency.
- Check the locations of your home’s smoke alarms and test each one. Replace any batteries if necessary and mark each smoke alarm on the floor plan you’ve drawn.
- Meet with your family to establish an outside meeting place in case of an emergency. Examples include a neighbor’s house, a particular light post, the mailbox or a stop sign. Mark the meeting place on your fire escape diagram.
- Look at your home from the street. Make sure the house number is clearly visible, including at night, so emergency personnel can find you easily. Paint the number on the curb or install larger, easier-to-see numbers on your home to help with this.
- Have each family member memorize the local fire department’s phone number.
- If infants, older adults or anyone with mobility issues live in your home, assign an able-bodied family member to assist them in an emergency.
- Stage fire drills so you have the opportunity to practice your fire escape plan. This helps everyone become comfortable with the plan so things go smoothly in a real emergency.
Fire Escape Plan Suggestions for at Work
Your business should be outfitted with a monitored fire alarm system, sprinklers, handheld fire extinguishers, automatic extinguishing equipment and other fire protection systems. In addition to these precautions, create a fire escape plan with these suggestions from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):
- Establish your preferred method for reporting fires, such as activating pull stations around the building.
- Create an evacuation policy and post-emergency escape routes that don’t require using an elevator on each floor of the building.
- Post names, titles, departments and phone numbers of critical contacts on escape route diagrams.
- Assign employees to remain behind and operate fire extinguishers or perform critical system operations.
When a fire starts in your home or business, the first step is to make sure everyone’s okay. Then you can begin the restoration process with help from Rainbow International®. Contact us for more fire safety tips or to schedule fire restoration services.