Question: How long do you have to escape from a fire in your home?
- Less than two minutes.
- Two minutes or more
- 10 minutes or more
When people were asked this question in a recent survey, they answered in ways that surprised us.
- 24% estimated they had more than 10 minutes to escape a home fire.
- 58% said two minutes or more.
- The truth is, you may have much less time to escape.
A typical living room fire can threaten the entire house in just a couple minutes, producing life-threatening conditions in upstairs bedrooms less than two minutes after the smoke alarm sounds. Your family needs to know how to get out at the first sign of a fire.
Don’t Wait, Plan Your Escape Today!
- Every member of your household should be part of the planning.
- Draw your floor plan out on a Fire Escape Plan Grid (a simple piece of graph paper will work).
- Mark two ways out of every room and include windows on your plan.
- Pick a meeting place outside. Tell everyone to meet there after they’ve escaped. That way you can count heads and tell the fire department if anyone’s trapped inside.
Plans are great, but the only way to know if they work is to practice them. Hold a home fire drill. Getting out of your own home sounds easy, but your home can look very different if it’s full of smoke. Children in particular need to practice what to do. Have someone press the button on the smoke alarm as the signal for the drill to start.
Remember that a fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly, but carefully. Everyone should go to the meeting place. Make time to plan and practice your family’s great escape today!
Fire Drill Check List
- Escape plan has been discussed with all members of the household.
- Start the drill with everyone in their room, pretending to be asleep.
- Signal the start of the drill by sounding the smoke alarm. It is especially important for children to recognize the sound of the smoke alarm so they will react appropriately when they hear it.
- Practice using your main escape routes first. Don’t run. Just go quickly and calmly outside and to the meeting place.
- Family meeting place is located safely away from the building and out of the way of the arriving fire department.
- Everyone arrives at the family meeting place in under two minutes.
- Someone pretends to go call 911 for help. They know what information to give the 911 dispatcher.
Tips for a Safe Escape
- If you see smoke, try another way out.
- If you can’t avoid the smoke, crawl under it on your hands and knees.
- Test doors before you open them. If you touch the door and it is warm, use another escape route. If the door is cool, open it cautiously.
- Do security bars on windows have quick-release devices? Bars need to be opened easily and quickly from the inside by everyone in the household. Make sure to practice opening them.
- Don’t stop or go back for anything. Possessions can be replaced. You can’t. Remember fire spreads quickly. Get out fast and stay out.
- Call the fire department as quickly as possible.
Fire Escape Plan Grid
Sit down with your family and plan your Great Escape! Get a piece of graph paper and plot out the rooms and escape routes in your home. A downloadable grid is available at the Seattle Fire Department website.
Information provided by the Seattle Fire Department. For more information about fire safety, look up your local fire department.
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