Have you ever sat down and made a fire safety plan for your home and family? It's more than getting everyone out safely (although of course this is the primary concern), but also determining the most effective strategy for this, as well as ensuring that you have done everything within your means to prevent a fire from starting in the first place. So what are some of the things that an effective fire safety plan needs to cover?
Install an appropriate number of smoke alarms for your home. The best number will depend on the size and layout of your home. If anyone in your household is hearing impaired, you might wish to opt for alarms that also have a visual cue (a flashing light) in addition to the audible warning. Ensure that batteries are changed in line with the manufacturer's specifications.
Fire Safety Equipment
Do you have adequate fire safety equipment? For a residential home, this needs to include a fire extinguisher and fire blanket. The extinguisher must be serviced regularly, and everyone in your household of a suitable age to use it should be briefed on the most effective way to operate the extinguisher.
An Escape Plan
In terms of exiting your home in the event of a fire, determining an escape plan will be beneficial.
Everyone should be aware of their nearest, most appropriate exit. This might well be their bedroom window in a fire that occurs during the night.
If exiting from a second floor window, the safest way to ground level should be ascertained. For small children, this might involve climbing through the window to escape the fire before waiting for assistance.
Locked doors and windows need to be opened without difficulty. Ensure that the key is always kept nearby and accessible (on a hook or in a suitable container).
Will any members of your family require assistance to evacuate? This might be children, elderly family members, those with disabilities or even pets. Someone should be assigned to assist each of these members of the family as needed.
Just as with keys, leashes and/or carry boxes for pets should consistently be kept in the same, easily accessible place.
A meeting point needs to be determined. This can be by your letterbox or in front of a neighbour's home. Call 000 and do not re-enter your home.
A fire safety plan for you and your family is like insurance. It's important to have, although you hope you will never have to use it.