If your house caught fire, would you and everyone in your home know exactly where to go and what to do? If your answer is "No," then it's probably time you made a plan.
According to research done by the National Fire Protection Association, eighty-five per cent of fire deaths occur in the home. However, within that broad statistic, certain important factors have also been identified that indicate that preventive measures can play a huge role in reducing the chances that you, or your family members will be victims of fire-related injury.
For example, although only a quarter of home fires occur between 10 P.M. and 6 A.M., half of all fire deaths reported resulted from fires in that time period. In the five year period from 1994 through 1998, January, followed by February and December were the peak months for home fire deaths.
In the same period, only one fifth of fire fatalities occurred in homes that were equipped with smoke detectors.*
Pella Windows and Doors has teamed up with the National Fire Protection Association to launch a home fire safety campaign called "Close the door on fire!"
In support of this initiative, and to further its longstanding commitment to promoting family safety, Michael Holigan’s Your New House featured this segment in which Michael and a fire safety representative from Pella walk through a large custom home and point out several very important things families need to know to decrease the chance they will be victims of fire.
Create and Practice a Fire Escape Plan
Estimates are that only about one quarter of all U.S. families have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan, even though most fatal fires occur in the home, when everyone is asleep. In fact, someone dies about once every three hours as a result of a home fire in the U.S. Fire safety experts agree that creating and practicing a home fire escape plan is a significant contributor to survival in the event of a fire in your home.
To create a plan, gather everyone in your household together and draw out a floor plan of the home, using a different sheet of paper for each floor. Standard grid paper available in any office supply store is perfect for this. Identify two ways out of each room, including windows.
Walk through your home and identify all escape routes, making sure that the routes are not blocked by obstacles like heavy furniture. Check all doors and windows to be sure that they haven’t been painted or nailed shut, and can be opened easily.
Mark the location of each smoke alarm. There should be at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home. Test each smoke alarm monthly and replace batteries on a regular schedule. Many families use the twice-a-year "spring ahead, fall behind" Daylight Savings Time clock shifts as a good way to remember to change smoke alarm batteries. Replace the smoke alarm every ten years.
Agree on an outside meeting place where everyone can gather for a head count after they’ve escaped. Never go back inside a burning structure. Once you’re out of the house, stay out.
And finally, be sure to share your fire escape plan with babysitters and other visitors, because if there’s a fire, they’re going to need to know what to do, as well.