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Learning Center & Safety Tips

Safety Tips on Having a Home Fire Escape Plan

According to statistics from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration, in 2022, there were 57 house fire fatalities in Missouri. However, these fatalities were those reported on by local media; some fatalities in rural or remote areas were likely not part of these broadcast reports.

Safety tips on Having a Home Fire Escape Plan
Safety tips on Having a Home Fire Escape Plan

From January 1 through the end of June 2023, more than 1,100 individuals lost their lives in a house fire. Each year, more deaths add to the grim reality that house fires are a tragedy that can happen to any family. While families can minimize their risk for a house fire, every household needs to make a home fire escape and emergency plan just in case this disaster strikes their home. Here’s how to create a plan to empower and protect everyone in the home.

What is a Fire Escape Plan?

An escape plan maps out the exits in the home that every individual can (and should) use in case of a house fire. The plan also appoints a specific meeting place where all family members should gather once they have escaped the home.

When creating an escape plan, parents should take the lead and become familiar with each room in the home. It’s important to provide children with multiple exit routes that are quick to navigate and safe.

For families who live in two-story homes, escape routes can be tricky. Young children cannot simply climb out a window to safety. Adults need to consider the ability of each child to maneuver a specific route. For babies, toddlers, and young children, parents need to plan how to navigate getting the child out of the home.

Planning Escape Routes From Home

What are easy escape routes for children and adults? Standard doors leading outside are the most obvious and easiest exits. However, windows near the ground also are escape routes. Children whose bedroom sits on the ground floor might utilize their bedroom window as an easy escape.

Each home has a unique layout and design. Escape plans should map out all possible exits; consider potential fire locations, too. Where would each person escape if the fire breached a main hallway? What if the fire begins on the top floor?

How to Survive a Fire

Staying safe during a house fire requires every individual to protect themselves against both the toxic smoke and the flames. The goal is to get out fast. However, when escaping a house fire, the body must be protected. Remember these tips:

How Fast Can Smoke Inhalation Kill You?

House fires are incredibly deadly not simply because of the flame but because of the smoke. Breathing in deadly smoke leads to injury and death. When a house fire consumes the residence, everyone must protect their lungs from the smoke. Smoke inhalation leads to death in a matter of minutes.

Teach children to protect their mouths with a mask or face covering; with the Covid pandemic, many families have cloth masks at home. These masks could help during a fire.

In addition, staying low to the ground allows more access to fresh air. Smoke rises. Stay low.

Safety Tips on How to Survive a Fire
Safety Tips on How to Survive a Fire

Check the Temperature of a Metal Doorknob

A metal handle can be the best indicator of a fire outside of a door. Metal conducts heat; if the knob feels hot, don’t open the door. Instead, find a different exit.

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Many garments are flammable. If clothing catches fire, stop, drop, and roll to put out the flames.

Emergency Escape Ladders Simplify the Escape Plan

Keep emergency escape ladders by windows as a quick safety precaution. However, ladders should never be accessible to small children. This option is only for adults or teens.

Additional Fire Safety Tips for Homeowners

Creating a fire safety plan is important to ensure that everyone knows how to a house fire. Panicking can be fatal. Empowerment is life-saving.

Homeowners also should check smoke detectors regularly. For homes with gas heat or appliances, install a carbon monoxide detector; this gas is odorless, colorless, and fatal.

Lake Ozark Fire Protection District is here to help you and your loved ones stay safe. We never want to visit your home because of a fire; explore all our resources and topics about fire safety and prevention to keep each space in the home fire safe.

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