Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How To Hold A Family Fire Drill

(SPM Wire) Most Americans haven't taken any home fire safety actions, according to the Home Safety Council (HSC).

"With less than three minutes to escape if a fire occurs, every home needs a well-rehearsed escape plan and working smoke alarms," said Meri-K Appy, HSC president.

Make a fire escape plan with every family member. Sketch a map of your home, including rooms, windows, interior and exterior doors, stairways, fire escapes and smoke alarms.

Make sure windows and doorways open and unlock easily from the inside, without keys. Ensure stairs and doorways aren't blocked.

If you have security bars on doors and windows, have a "quick-release" latch on the inside.

Find two ways out of every room: the door and maybe the window. Upstairs windows might require escape ladders. If so, make them part of your drill. Select two escape routes from each room and mark them clearly on plans.

Children and many older adults will need help escaping fires. Plan for this.

Agree on a place to meet in front of your home. Use a portable or neighbor's phone to call 911. Once outside, don't go back inside for anything.

Make copies of the plan sketch and post them in each room until everyone becomes familiar with them.

Hold fire drills frequently. Once you've mastered the escape plan, hold a drill at night to test ability to waken and respond to the smoke alarm.

For more tips, visit

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