Have a Plan
It’s kind of like insurance or a will—crucial to have but something you hope you never need.
With 7 out of 10 fires in Canada occurring at home, preparing and practicing a family fire escape plan is something worth doing, once (of course) you have ensured that smoke alarms are properly installed throughout the house (ideally one in each bedroom but at least one at the top of stairways leading to bedrooms as well as at the top of the stairs from the basement, and at least one on each floor where there are sleeping areas) and have started the habit of testing them weekly and replacing the batteries every time the time changes, spring and fall.
Plan to Escape
- Start with drawing a floor plan of your home showing all windows and doors. Working as a family, plan two possible ways out of every room, especially bedrooms.
- Ensure everyone knows to escape immediately when they hear an alarm or someone yelling ‘Fire’ and not to stop to take possessions or pets. Remind them to crawl low under the smoke. (Even rolling out of bed rather than sitting up can help reduce smoke exposure.)
- Make sure all windows and doors can be opened by all members of the family. Teach children how to open their bedroom windows. For two-story houses, consider buying an emergency escape ladder.
- Choose a meeting place in front of your home (such as a tree or lamppost) so everyone knows where to go—this is critical to confirm everyone has escaped from the building.
- Remind everyone of the importance to ‘Get Out and Stay Out’. Once you are out, there should be no going back for anything or anyone.