You have to prepare your home for fire evacuation early on. It is as necessary as the air you breathe in. Moreover, when you are getting the electrical and plumbing systems done, you should install fire-related systems. Just installing the devices will not get you anywhere, though. However, planning and some rehearsals will be helpful when that bad day arrives.
You should inspect your home thoroughly and make changes if necessary to the doors, windows, and backyards. They are the main exits that can aid you in your contingency plan. If possible, you should create two doors for every room in the house. Simple hinged windows also help under such circumstances, where two minutes can mean life or death.
Here are some planning tips to help you make a foolproof fire evacuation plan for your home:
Make the Plan
This is the first thing that you should do. Gather everyone in your household, and make the plan. Walk through your home, with all the other members, as if you were in some group activity together. Inspect all the exits and openings. If you have children at home, you should get them involved actively in the process. Your plan should have the doors and windows marked on the printed plan.
As already mentioned, you ought to have at least two exits in every room. Many houses in the US have concealed overhead closers and fittings. The system’s primary purpose is to ensure that the door closes properly when there is fire and the smoke cannot escape. Hidden ones also do not affect the aesthetic value of the entry or exit.
You should have already checked the exits, if already present, for any blockages. There could be a cupboard or some other material that could block your path during the actual fire. Apart From the above, you should also fix a safe meeting place outside the house at a distance.
Check the Systems
After you are done with all the paperwork and briefing, you need to check physically if all the systems are working. Install smoke alarms in all bedrooms, in the passage, and on every floor. You should have rope ladders installed at strategic points for the rooms on an upper level. It is better to keep them near the windows as well.
Moreover, you should ensure to have all of them connected. So, when it goes off, the others should also do the same. You also need to install sprinklers in all the rooms and at the exits to the front or backyard. Check them annually to see if they are working or are jammed.
There could be grilles and bars on the windows. It will be great to get automated ones installed that can lift with some hydraulic support, should an emergency kick in. Also, ensure that the plumbing systems are working fine. If they don’t, then the sprinklers won’t work either. Apart from checking on all fire security and safety devices, you should ensure no hazardous chemicals inside the house. If they are required, you should store them in the garage. That way, you won’t have some chemical-induced fire inside. Garages most often have separate doors.
Conduct the Drill
Once everything is set, it is time for a mock drill. The drill will be a practical exposure for all the family members and the kids. Before starting the drill, you should have already decided on the safe meeting point. Ensure to take the kids into confidence. They do better than adults during testing times. Ask everyone to be in their bedrooms, and let off the alarms. If you have disabled members in your home, you should have already appointed someone to handle them in the situation.
Practice the escape plan at least twice a year. It will help you ensure that nobody has forgotten the to-dos. Always choose the escape route that has less smoke. Additionally, you should also practice crouching on the floor if there is a lot of smoke in the atmosphere.
The Worst-Case Scenario
If you cannot escape from the house, you have to seal the doors between you and the fire with duct tapes and towels. Cover the air vents so that the smoke does not enter your hideout. If you can reach the windows, open them and shout for help. You may also call the fire department to tell them about your whereabouts.
This is the ultimate fire evacuation plan for your home. You should follow this and make more changes if required. It is necessary to have this in place, to protect yourself and your family from unknown calamities.