Creating a Fire Escape Plan for Your Ulster County Home and Family
When a fire breaks out, it is human nature to be afraid, but everyone has a different reaction. Because it is not a scenario that most of us have ever been faced with, it can be alarming and overwhelming to experience. However, it’s important to try to remain as calm as you can in order to get yourself and your family members to safety.
A fire can start spreading in as little as 30 seconds, and experts estimate that you typically only have 3-5 minutes to react and get to safety when a fire starts. Therefore, it is important to have a fire escape plan that the whole household is aware of and practice it regularly. That way, when a fire breaks out, everyone will know exactly what to do to and where to go to stay safe.
Here are the steps to creating a fire evacuation plan:
- Create a custom plan. Every family is different, and every home is different, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a fire escape plan. Make sure to consider elderly family members, children who are heavy sleepers and pets. Take note of time needed to get everyone to an exit and locate pets to get them to safety. Keep in mind, pets sense danger much quicker than we can and have been known to hide in hard to reach spots. Practice this exit plan often with ALL family members, including furry ones, so there are no questions or confusion should there be an emergency.
- Identify two exits. Each room should have two exits so those inside can escape no matter where the fire is. If necessary, equip upstairs rooms with emergency ladders so windows can be the second point of exit.
- Set a spot to meet. Pick a meet-up spot in advance that will be safe, such as a nearby landmark, a neighbor’s yard, tree or mailbox. Make sure everyone is clear on the location of the meet-up spot. Ask for their opinions should there be any obstructions and consider a well it area.
- Consider all scenarios. There are unthinkable scenarios that can contribute to a fire, and it is important to prepare for all of them. Do not focus on preparing for one source of a fire and neglect to prepare for others. For example, don’t focus on a fire only occurring in the kitchen when it can happen in the basement or attic.
- Practice often. Get the entire household together to run a fire drill at least twice a year using a mock scenario. Be sure any overnight guests are aware of the plan as well.
Tip: Get children excited about planning so they will be more involved in the process and less scared. Introduce a map of your home and have them color and mark up the exits.
Fire Prevention Tips
- Install smoke detectors in each bedroom and on every level of the home.
- Check smoke detectors once a month. Replace batteries every time the clocks change or at least every 6 months, even hard-wired detectors.
- Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.
- Make sure all candles are extinguished and no holiday décor is around them.
- Never leave open flames unattended.
- If you have a Christmas tree up, don’t let it get dried out. It can burn from hot lights in minutes.
- Do not overwhelm electrical sockets with excessive plugs.
- DO NOT plug space heaters into anything but an outlet and don’t use an extension cord. Power strips are not safe to plug a space heater into and can quickly cause an electrical fire.
- Keep combustibles like cleaners and chemicals in a safe place.
- If you are grilling outside, make sure the grill is cold before putting it back up against the house.
- Don’t run appliances at night like clothes dryers. Make it a yearly maintenance check to have the dryer vent cleaned out too.
If you’re ever faced with fire and smoke damage in your home or business, don’t hesitate to call us. Our fire damage emergency services are available 24/7 for all restoration needs. SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz is always here to help.