Creating and Having a Family Fire Drill
And Important Skills to Teach Kids About Fire Safety
Do you have a formal planned fire escape plan and have you practiced a family fire drill? Fires in the home are more frequent than many parents know, but only a small percentage of households have an escape plan.
And with wildfires in this area becoming much more common, unfortunately, when it comes to fire protection, planning is both the first and last step.
There is no set format for a fire escape plan, although there are certain commonalities for all residences and structures, and all structures should be designed for easier evacuation in the event of a fire.
If your building lacks fire escape paths, hire a professional to get your residence up to standard or relocate, whichever is more convenient for you.
It’s also beneficial to have smoke detectors, escape ladders, and sprinkler systems in operation. However, once the fire spreads, you will almost always need a fire escape plan.
The good news is that creating and practicing a home fire evacuation strategy is straightforward. Simply take the steps below to ensure that everybody in your household knows what to do in the event of a home fire.
Continue reading to find out why a family fire drill is critical, how to build one, and what you can do to keep your family safe.
Why You Need a Home Fire Escape Plan?
Did you know that when smoke or fire in your home trips your smoke alarm, because home fires typically spread rapidly, you only have one to two minutes to safely evacuate? So with no time to spare, if you wait until the fire alarm sounds to think about an evacuation plan, you might be too late.
Instead, plan your strategy ahead of time and practice evacuating with the whole family so everyone knows exactly what to do.
This is particularly important for families with small children, who will need to be told what to do in an emergency. Although children are often subjected to fire drills at school, if fire protection is not enforced at home, they may believe that the same rules don’t apply.
You'll want to make sure that the whole family is prepared for the inevitable, particularly now that the temperature is rising, and fire risk is higher.
How to create a fire safety evacuation plan
1. Do A Walk-Through of your Home
Begin by gathering your family and walking through each room of your home. Discuss the various exits and escape routes. During this walk, try to find at least two possible exits from each room in your house, including one through the curtains.
Then, make sure that all of the exits are readily visible and are not blocked by any bulky furniture or other obstructions. Finally, purchase and install any necessary equipment, such as collapsible escape ladders that can be used to crawl down from higher floors.
Once all is in place, repeat the walk-through, this time with the family in tow. Point out possible exits and demonstrate how to use any devices you might have bought.
2. Choose a Fire Captain
Appoint a family fire captain to ensure that everybody in the house knows who it is. Their main responsibility is to supervise family members who need special assistance getting out safely, such as infants and small children, dogs, or the elderly.
If many family members need assistance, determine ahead of time who will assist each individual. Make a backup captain available in case the main captain is unable to return home or is hit by smoke.
3. Know Where To Go
Choose a location where family members can gather after they have safely exited the building.
Starting preparation can be as simple as having a dinner conversation with your family. Explain to children that if the smoke and heat detectors go off, they must leave the house immediately and meet at the designated secure location.
Decide on an outdoor gathering place that is far enough from the building to be protected from smoke and debris but near enough for everyone to arrive easily, such as the mailbox or a neighbor's porch.
Make sure to talk about the safest ways to get out of the house. The front door can be the most convenient, so if it is unsafe, children need to know to try a back door or the garage door next.
You should also teach your children to go to the meeting place if your home's carbon monoxide detectors go off, signaling dangerous amounts of poisonous, odorless gas.
Carbon monoxide gas, which is also generated by incompletely burned carbon fuel sources such as wood, gasoline, or heating oil, is the second leading cause of non-medicinal toxicity in the United States.
Finally, create a floor plan for each floor of your home, with every window and door. In each bedroom, mark two exits and sign them on your drawing.
If you have a 2-story home, buy a fire escape ladder and be sure it is ready to be used at a moment's notice. If the bedrooms are upstairs and the stairway is blocked by flames, plan to meet where the ladder is located.
4. Check Your Smoke Alarms
Test smoke detectors with your children regularly–ideally once a month to ensure they’re familiar with the sound and thatth alarm is in working order.
Cleaning Up After a Grease Fire
The NFPA suggests installing smoke detectors in every sleeping room, outside every sleeping space, and on every floor of a household. Larger homes necessitate the installation of additional detectors.
When the batteries of traditional smoke detectors run down, they will chirp, while smart smoke and heat sensors connected to a smart home surveillance system will deliver email and text warnings to your phone or other gadgets.
It’s important to replace batteries as soon as possible to keep your families safe. Never totally uninstall a chirping smoke alarm—many people are failing to turn them back on.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
It isn't enough to formulate a plan. When everybody in the house understands what to do, it's time to practice a family fire drill. Render the experience as practical as possible by doing it at an inconvenient time and sounding a fire alarm.
You must practice your strategy enough so that all family members can exit in less than two minutes. Test with a screaming detector multiple times and exit from various rooms in various situations. Test as if having to crawl through smoke and checking door handles as well..
Make sure everybody understands that if there is a fire, they must get out, call for assistance, and never return inside.
If you're the one in charge of the drill, you might want to time it.
This will not only give you an idea of how well your family will do in the case of a true emergency, but it will also provide an element of excitement for the kids and allow them to run much faster the next time you train.
If you've mastered it, practice a fire evacuation drill at least twice a year.
Family fire safety tips and tricks for kids
In addition to the fire escape plan, make sure that everybody in your household understands the following fire safety tips. If you haven't already, go through them and make sure everyone in the family knows what to do.
Stop, drop, and roll: Have your family practice stopping, dropping, and rolling so they know what to do if they catch fire.
Don’t bring anything with you: Remind people not to care about taking their belongings with them in the event of a fire or returning to the house for something after they've left.
Remember to inspect the smoke detectors: Smoke detectors should be checked at least twice a year. You should choose someone in your family to be in charge of this and set a note on your calendar.
Examine the fire extinguishers: Around the same time, you can check to see if your fire extinguishers are out of date. If so, you can swap them out for multipurpose ones.
Although children should not use fire extinguishers, all adults in the house should be familiar with them.
To refresh everyone’s memory, using a fire extinguisher is as easy as following these four steps:
➣ Pull the pin
➣ Aim the nozzle at the fire's hearth
➣ Squeeze the trigger slowly and deliberately
➣ Swipe the extinguisher from side to side before the fire is extinguished
Making fire safety a game: For younger children, it could be beneficial to transform fire safety into a game to make it an enjoyable and educational experience for them.
Put your plan to the test
Have arrangements in your plan for someone in your household that is disabled.
Allow children to master fire escape plans and practice when conducting a family fire drill whilst they are asleep at night.
Since the goal is to learn, not to scare, reminding children that there will be a drill before they go to bed can be almost as good as a surprise drill.
During the exercise, it is important to decide if children and others will easily wake up to the sound of the smoke alarm.
If they should not wake up, make sure someone is designated to wake them up as part of the exercise as in an actual emergency.
If your house has two floors, any member of your family (including children) must be able to escape from the second-floor space. To have an alternative escape path, escape ladders may be mounted in or around windows.
Examine the manufacturer's manuals thoroughly such that you can access a safety ladder in an emergency. Set up the ladder from a first-floor window to ensure that you can do it properly and easily.
Children can only practice with an adult and from a first-floor window. Keep the ladder by the window, where it’s readily visible.
You don't want to have to look for it in the middle of a fire.
Often take the safest exit path–the one with the least amount of smoke and heat–but be prepared to escape from poisonous smoke if possible.
Everyone in the house should practice getting low and going under the smoke to escape during the fire drill.
Closing doors on the way out delay the spread of fire and gives you some time to evacuate safely.
Smoke or fire can prevent you from leaving your home or apartment building in some situations. As part of your home fire evacuation drill, practice "sealing yourself in for protection" to brace for an emergency like this.
Close any doors that stand between you and the fire. To prevent smoke from entering, use duct tape or towels to close door openings and cover air vents. Open your windows at the top and bottom if necessary to allow fresh air to enter.
Five Star Restoration is Here to Help with Fire and Smoke Damage
When your family is faced with a fire or smoke damage emergency, having a restoration company to rely on is helpful.
Following a fire, fire damage and smoke damage can cause health issues. It can produce highly volatile toxic chemicals from the glue used in certain household products. Give Five Star Restoration a call if you have a fire.
Practicing emergency evacuation ahead of time is the only way to reduce health and safety risks.
In case of fire, Five Star Restoration is expert in cleaning and restoring your home after a fire. Our highly trained technicians and cutting-edge technology can quickly restore your home or company to its pre-damage condition.
We understand the importance of a quick response, and are available 24X7.
Call us today at (951) 368-2227.
Tags: Family Fire Drill, fire drills for kids, fire safety for kids, fire escape tips, family fire escape plan