In a fire, you are excited and unable to think clearly, so having a fire escape plan in place helps prevent panic, which can result in injury or death.
The first few minutes after the start of a fire are important to those in the building. Fire travels quickly, and the hottest and largest concentration of smoke and gasses will rise to the highest point.
A majority of the people killed by fire die as a result of heat and gases, not by the direct flame.
When developing a fire escape plan for your home, involve the entire family.
Begin by drawing a simple floor plan of the home. A plan should be made for each floor.
Develop a floor plan showing normal and emergency exit routes from each sleeping area. Use solid and broken arrows to show primary and secondary routes.
Plan two exits from each room. The normal exit route will be used if possible. If the normal route is blocked, the alternate route will be used. Some means of alarm should also be established. Your family's alarm device can be a whistle, bell or pan and spoon. Regardless of your alarm choice, never play with your means of sounding an alarm.
After creating your escape plan, discuss how everyone will escape if fire is detected and the alarm is sounded.
Things to consider and discuss include:
If you find yourself unable to escape from a burning building:
Those living in apartment buildings should follow the steps provided above for creating a home fire escape plan.
If a fire occurs, alert other apartment occupants by shouting or pounding on doors. Sound the fire alarm if one is available in the building.
Upon leaving the apartment, always close the apartment door behind you. In exiting your apartment under emergency conditions, approach stairways with caution. Do not use an elevator as an escape in case of fire.
Prepare an escape plan showing escape routes and post in your work place. Encourage your company to practice fire drills.
Learn the location of fire exits and alarm boxes near you and know the Fire Department's phone number.
Make mental notes of several fire exits whenever you enter a restaurant, store, theater or other public place.
If you see smoke or detect a burning smell, sound the alarm. As you exit a burning building, close doors behind you. Always use stairs to exit a building, never an elevator.