Exit Drills In The Home
In 2000, approximately 4,000 Americans died in home fires ... tens of thousands more were injured. You can survive even a major fire in your home if you are alerted early enough about the fire and can get out of your home quickly ... AND STAY OUT!
HOW YOU CAN SURVIVE
- Install and maintain working Smoke Detectors in your home
- Make an escape plan and practice it
YOU HAVE TO PLAN YOUR ESCAPE
When a fire happens, there is no time for planning. Sit down with your family now and make a step-by-step plan for escaping from a fire in your home. Some people might think ... "Gee, that's silly. I've lived in this house for 10 years ... I know my way around. If there's a fire I can get out." Well, it doesn't work that way. When a fire happens, especially at night, you will be groggy ... you will be afraid ... you will be confused, even in your own home. You might not get out. If you don't have working Smoke Detectors, your chances of surviving a fire in your home, especially at night dramatically decrease. That's how many people are killed and injured.
Draw a floor plan of your home and mark 2 ways out of every room, especially the bedrooms. Go over these escape routes with every member of your household.
Agree on a meeting place outside your house where every member of the household will meet after escaping a fire and wait there for the fire department to arrive. This lets you count heads to make sure everyone is there, and to tell the fire department if anyone is missing.
Practice your escape plan at least a couple times a year. Hold a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone to be a monitor and have everyone take part in the drill. A fire drill is not a race, but practice to get out quickly ... remember to be careful.
Make your fire drill realistic ... pretend that some exits are blocked by fire and practice getting out different escape routes. Pretend that the lights are out and that some escape routes are getting smoke in them.
Be Prepared ... make sure everyone in the house can unlock all the doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Windows or doors with security bars on them need to be equipped with quick-release devices and everyone in the house should know how to use them.
If you live in an apartment building use stairways to escape. Never use an elevator during a fire ... it can stop between floors or take you directly to a floor where a fire is burning (you know those little buttons ... the ones that light up when you touch them to call an elevator to where you are waiting ... they are activated by the heat coming from your finger ... the same kind of heat that a fire gives off and touches those little buttons on the floor where a fire is burning).
If you live in a two story house and you must escape from a second floor window, be sure there is a safe way to reach the ground. Make special arrangements for kids, older adults, and people with disabilities. People who might have trouble moving should have a telephone they can easily get to in their bedroom, and if possible, should sleep on the ground level floor.
Test doors before opening them ... while kneeling or crouching at the door, reach up as high as you can and with the back of your hand (it's more sensitive than the front of your hand to feel things such as heat), touch the door, the doorknob, and the space between the door and its frame. If the door is hot, use another way out. If the door is cool, open it slowly.
If you are trapped, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the doors with clothes or anything to help keep the smoke out of the room you are in. Wait at a window and signal for help with a light colored cloth (use a pillow case, sheet, anything light colored) or a flashlight if you have one. If there is a phone in the room, call the fire department and tell them exactly where you are.
GET OUT FAST ...
In case of fire, do not stop for anything. Do not try to rescue anything, including pets. After you get out, go directly to your meeting place and then call for the fire department from a neighbor's home (or use an alarm box if there is one nearby). Every member of your household should know how to call the fire department (911 in most, but not all areas).
Crawl low under smoke. Smoke contains deadly gases and heat rises. During a fire the cleaner air will be down near the floor. If you find smoke when using your primary exit (your 1st way out), then use your alternate escape plan (2nd way out). If you must get out of the house through smoke, get down and crawl on your hands and knees ... even down on your belly if you have to ... and keep your head close to the floor where the "good" air is so you can breathe easier (and its not as hot down there).
... AND STAY OUT ... once you are out of the house, DO NOT go back in for any reason. If people are trapped, the firefighters have the best chance of rescuing them. Firefighters have the training, experience, and the protective clothing and equipment needed to enter a burning building. Most of the time, those people that go back into a house that is burning do not come back out alive. Remember, we can replace toys and TV's and clothes ... but we can NEVER replace YOU!
DON'T BE STUPID ... More than half of all fatal home fires happen at night while people are sleeping. One of the first body senses to go to sleep is that of smell. Working Smoke Detectors act like a big nose smelling the air all night for you. If a fire starts, the Smoke Detectors will sound an alarm alerting you before you can become trapped or overcome by smoke. With working Smoke Detectors, your risk of dying in a home fire is cut almost in half. Install Smoke Detectors outside of every bedroom and on every level of your home including the basement. Follow the installation instructions carefully and test all of the Smoke Detectors at least once every week. Change Smoke Detector batteries at least once every year ... a good idea is to change the batteries on a certain birthday each year.
If your Smoke Detectors are more than 10 years old, replace them.
"Have You Changed Your Smoke Detector Batteries This Year?"
HOME FIRE SAFETY CHECKLIST:
Fire Prevention Children Activities
Simple changes that could save your life
CHANGE YOUR SMOKE ALARM BATTERIES
The IAFC and fire experts nationwide encourage people to change smoke alarm batteries at least annually. An easy way to remember to change your batteries iswhen you turn you clock back in the fall. Replace old batteries with fresh,high quality alkaline batteries, such as Energizer brand batteries, to keep yoursmoke alarm going year long.
CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARMS
After inserting a fresh battery in your smoke alarm, check to make sure the smoke alarm itself is working by pushing the safety test button.
COUNT YOUR SMOKE ALARMS
Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, including one in every bedroom and one outside each sleeping area.
VACUUM YOUR SMOKE ALARMS
Each month, clean your smoke alarm of dust and cobwebs to ensure their sensitivity.
CHANGE YOUR FLASHLIGHT BATTERIES
To make sure your emergency flashlights work when you need them, use high quality alkaline batteries. Note: Keep a working flashlight near your bed, in the kitchen, basement and family room, and use it to signal for help in the event of a fire.
INSTALL FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
Install a fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen and know how to use it. Should you need to purchase one, the IAFC recommends a multi or all purpose fire extinguisher that is listed by an accredited testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory.
PLAN AND PRACTICE YOUR ESCAPE
Create at least two different escape routes and practice them with the entire family. Children are at double the risk of dying in a home fire because they often become scared and confused during fires. Make sure your children understand that a smoke alarm signals a home fire and that they recognize its alarm.
We are learning about community helpers. Try doing the following
activities to help your child learn more about the firefighter and fire safety.
Make a plan for getting out of your home in case of fire and establish a safe place outside for everyone to meet. Practice following your plan with your child on a regular basis. At the end of your fire drill, have your child show how he or she would get help by pretending to run to a neighbor’s house and dialing 9-1-1.
For each child, use plain newsprint (or newspaper) to make a folded paper hat. Secure all loose edges with tape. Let the children use crayons or felt-tip markers to color their hats red. Fold back one corner of each hat and staple it in place. Then attach a yellow construction paper badge shape on which you have written a numeral of the child’s choice. Variation: For each child, trim a large piece of red construction paper into an oval shape. Then use the oval to make a head size version of the firefighter finger puppet hat.
FIREFIGHTER FINGER PUPPETS
Let each of the children make one or more firefighter finger puppet hats. For each hat, give a child an oval shape (about 2 inches long) cut from white constructionpaper. Let the child use a crayon to color both sides of the oval red. Cut out a finger hole, as indicated by the dotted line in the illustration, and fold as indicated by the solid line. Use a black felt tip marker to add a numeral of the child’s choice to the hat. Draw a face on the child’s finger as shown and top the finger with the child’s firefighter hat.
Encourage the children to manipulate their puppets while singing songs or telling stories.
Fire Prevention Badges
Cut badge shapes out of white index cards. Let the children decorate their badges with colored felt tip markers or crayons. Use a black tip marker to write one of these sayings on each child’s badge.
"(Child’s Name)" does not play with matches or lighters
"(Child’s Name)" knows how to stop, drop and roll.
"(Child’s Name)" knows how to dial 9-1-1
FIRE TRUCK SCENES
Help the children make fire truck scenes. For each scene, give a child a small house shape and a fire truck shape cut from construction paper. Let the child glue his or her shapes on a plastic foam food tray. When the glue has dried, have the child use felt tip markers to draw smoke and flames coming out of his house. Make a hose for the fire truck by wrapping a small piece of masking tape around one end of a pipe cleaner. Poke the other end through the fire truck shape and secure it with tape to the back of the tray. Let the child wiggle the hose and pretend to put out the fire in the house.
MILK CARTON FIRE ENGINE
- Open container top
- Cut container top on three sides -- separate
- Cut half way into container
- Make two folds -- tape or glue down
- Cover the milk carton with paper and have the children design their own fire truck
CARDBOARD CARTON FIRE ENGINE
Select a rectangular cardboard carton, like the one in the illustration, to use for making a fire engine. Cut the bottom out of the carton with a craft knife. Open out the two long top flaps. Cut square holes in them as shown to make the flaps into "ladders". Let the children paint the ladders white and the rest of the carton red. When the paint has dried, attach two small yellow paper plates for headlights and four large black paper plates for wheels. Cut holes for handles in the front and the back of the fire engine. Add a section of garden hose to hang out the back hole. Let the children take turns climbing inside the fire engine and driving it to imaginary fire scenes.
STOP, DROP AND ROLL
Each time you have a fire drill, talk with the children about how they should "STOP, DROP AND ROLL" if their clothes catch on fire. Clear a large area in the room or take the children outside to a grassy area. Have the children start walking or running in place. At a given signal, have them stop what they are doing, drop to the floor or ground and roll over and over until the pretend flames are out.
Fireplace Safety Tips
The fireplace in your home is a source of warmth and relaxation for your family and friends. Like any home appliance, it should be safe, properly maintained, and good for the environment-inside and out.
How Automatic Sprinklers Work
Automatic Sprinklers Systems supply water to a network of individual sprinklers, each protecting an area below them. These sprinklers open automatically in response to head and spray water on a fire to put it out or keep it from spreading. Contrary to popular belief, only those sprinklers near the fire are activated and discharge water.
Sprinklers Save Lives
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) records covering most of this century show no instances of fires killing three or more people in a house, apartment, hotel or motel where a complete sprinkler system was installed and operating properly.
The NFPA estimates that the risk of dying in a fire is cut by one-half to two-thirds in public buildings, stores, offices, auditoriums, factories, where sprinklers have been installed and in the growing number of private homes equipped with sprinkler systems.
Because sprinkler systems react so early in the course of a fire, they reduce the heat and flames and the amount of smoke produced in a fire. Every life-threatening aspect of a fire is reduced by sprinklers.
Sprinklers Save Property
NFPA studies show that automatic sprinklers systems also save thousands of dollars in property loss.
Sprinklers in the Home
Automatic sprinkler systems have been common in factories, warehouses, hotels, and public buildings throughout the 20th century. Since the early 1980s, sprinkler have become more popular to private homes, thanks to revised NFPA standards for installation that have made home sprinkler systems practical and more affordable.
Four-fifths of all fire deaths occur in homes, and according to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 60 to 70 percent of those deaths could be prevented by adding sprinkler systems to houses and apartments.
Since 1980, sprinklers have been available specifically for residential use. These systems can be supplied with water through small-diameter piping from a household water supply in one- or two-family dwellings.
Thanks to the use of modern materials and designs, the cost of residential sprinkler systems has come down. Estimates suggest that installing such a system would add one to one-and-a-half percent to the cost of new housing. They can also be installed in existing buildings.
Homes with automatic sprinkler systems should also be equipped with smoke detectors. All residents should be familiar with these devices and should have a plan for escape in the event of fire.
Dispelling Myths about Automatic Sprinklers
Despite the proven, effectiveness of automatic sprinkler systems in slowing the spread of fire and reducing loss of life and property damage, many people resist the idea of home sprinkler systems because of widespread misconceptions about their operation.
||The water damage from sprinklers is worse that a fire.|
||The truth is, a sprinkler will control a fire with a tiny fraction of the water used by the fire departments hoses, primarily because it acts so much earlier. Automatic systems spray water only in the immediate area of the fire and can keep the fire from spreading, thus avoiding widespread water damage.|
||Sprinklers go off accidentally, causing unnecessary water damage.|
||Accidental water damage caused by automatic sprinkler systems is relatively rare. One study concluded that sprinkler accidents are generally less likely and less severe than mishaps involving standard home plumbing systems.|
||Sprinklers are ugly|
||Sprinklers don't have to be unattractive. Pipes can be hidden behind ceilings or walls, and modern sprinkler fixtures can be inconspicuous - mounted almost flush with the walls or ceilings. Some sprinklers can even be concealed.|
Commercial or Residential automatic sprinkler systems should be installed by a qualified contractor who adheres to NFPA codes and standards and/or with local fire safety regulations.