Obviously, the doors of entry to the house make excellent exit routes, unless there is an obstacle such as a fire blocking your safe egress. Therefore, you should identify two means of exit from each room within your home. If you have rooms that are located above ground, then you need to consider if the windows are viable options for exiting.
Once you have determined the means of exit, what else will you need? Can you exit from the window safely or do you need to invest in means to exit the window safely, such as utilizing a fire escape ladder. If you choose to invest in a fire escape ladder, make sure it will work with the window and will reach the ground safely. Additionally, if you plan to practice the exit through a window, please do it from the ground floor to avoid unnecessary falls.
The next step is to identify a meeting place a safe distance away from the home. Educate everyone on the meeting place and wait for all to congregate. If someone does not meet up, please avoid the temptation to reenter your home, as you should NEVER reenter a building that is on fire and instead direct the fire department to search for animals or anyone missing.
Do a fire evacuation drill and if you have small children test the plan during the day and at night. Smoke detectors that produce both an audible alarm and a narrated alert tend to be better at awakening children. Check to see if you have a narrated alarm near the sleeping quarters of your children.
Teach your children what the smoke detectors purpose is and identify the two means of exit. Share that if they hear an alarm they should feel the interior of the door with the back side of their hand to detect if there is a presence of heat outside of the room. Avoid touching the door knob as it will likely retain a lot of the heat and may scald your hand. If the door is cool, then you may quickly open and shut the door to determine the level of smoke present. If the smoke and fire threat allows for safe exit proceed low to the ground and exit at the nearest door or if unsafe try to exit from the window.
Congregate in your meeting place and record the time it took for everyone to exit your home safely. In future drills, add some variety such as blocking one exit and making them choose another.
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