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Family Escape Plan

Most fatal home fires occur between midnight and 8 a.m. when people are asleep. Toxic gases and heat, which can get over 1000 degrees rise and can travel ahead of the actual flames. When your smoke detector sounds, you may have less than 2 minutes to get out and stay out. That's why your family needs an escape plan.

What to Do

Draw a sketch of your home. Mark at least 2 ways to get out of every room. The first way should be the door, and the second way out might be a window. If the window is higher than ground level, you may want to purchase an emergency escape ladder and keep it near the window.

  • Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone can be accounted for.
  • Practice twice a year.

How to Practice

Begin with everybody in Bed. Someone should press the "test button" on the smoke detector.

Everyone should roll out of bed. That way, you stay below any heat or smoke that may be present in the room.

Don't stop to get any possessions. Don't even stop to call the fire department. That should be done from the safety of a neighbor's house after you get out.

Check the door to the hallway for heat. If it is hot to the touch, or if smoke prohibits you from escaping through the door, use your second way out. If you must escape through smoke, crawl low under it where the air is cleaner and close the door behind you as you leave.

Once outside, go to your designated meeting place where everyone will meet up to make sure everyone is safe. Have someone simulate calling the fire department.

Practice twice; the first time use the normal exit. The second time, pretend the door is hot, and use the second way out.

Afterwards, talk about the drill. Make any changes to the plan if necessary and rehearse them.

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