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Fire! Do you have a plan?


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Did You Know?

Fire! Do You Have
a Plan?

Helpful hints to aid your
family in the event of
a devastating home fire

Finger Printing for Safety
Important information to
help with the return of
your child if he would
become missing

If you have school aged children, most likely they are very familiar with school fire drills. They know to be calm, orderly, follow instructions, and where to go when evacuating the building. But if a fire were to occur in your home, would they know how to escape the home on their own if you were not able to reach them?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in the year 2000, there were 368,000 home fires in the United States resulting in 3,420 deaths. Their statistics show that over a five year period (from 1994 through 1998) only 25 percent of home fires occur between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. However, half of the home fire deaths occurred between those hours. In addition, children 5 and under account for 9% of the country’s population but they accounted for 17% of the home fire deaths—twice the risk of the national average.

According to the NFPA’s 1997 Home Fire Escape Survey, only 16% of families have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. If your family is one of the many that has yet to develop an escape plan, here are some guides:

    

Make sure each floor of your home is equipped with a working smoke detector. In addition, a smoke detector should be outside all sleeping areas.

    

Show your children (and learn for yourself) two ways out of each room in your home.

    

Make sure exits are kept unobstructed.

    

Practice your escape route with your children at least twice a year.

    

Have a designated place outside (and a safe distance away from the home) where every member of your family will meet in the event of a fire.

    

If your family includes infants, members with disabilities, or those who are physically incapacitated, make sure someone is designated to assist them in the escape plan.

    

After your biannual escape practice, check doors and windows to make sure they open easily and (1) have not swollen shut due to moisture or (2) have not been painted shut.

    

If you have a multi-story home, consider purchasing portable chain fire escape ladders that anchor to window sills.

    

Teach your children to leave the house at the sound of the smoke alarm.

    

Instruct them that they are never, for any reason, to reenter the home if it is on fire. Instruct them that material possessions can be replaced—they cannot.

Above all else—practice, practice, practice. The more comfortable your family members are with the route, the more likely they will be able to escape your home calmly and safely.


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