With your escape route ready, use these tips to make your exit as safe as possible.
Although smoke alarms are vitally important in fire preparation, they are only effective at warning your family of danger. After a smoke alarm does its job, the rest is up to you – you must take action to escape. Unless you act quickly and effectively, the extra warning time provided by alarms could be wasted. The best way to ensure that your family will do the correct things in an emergency is to have an escape plan and practice it. The important factors in a home fire evacuation plan are:
Immediately leave the home.
Do not waste any time saving property. Call the fire department (Use 911 if available) from your cellular phone after you exit or from a neighbor's home. Take the safest exit route, but if you must escape through smoke, remember to crawl low under the smoke.
Know two ways out of each room. If the primary way out is blocked by fire or smoke, you'll need a second way out. This might be a window onto an adjacent roof or by using an escape ladder that has been tested and approved by a recognized testing laboratory. Practice escaping by both the primary and secondary routes to be sure that windows are not stuck and screens can be taken out quickly. Windows and doors with security bars need quick release devices to allow them to be opened quickly in an emergency. Practice escaping in the dark.
Feel the door.
When you come to a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the door knob, and the crack between the door and door frame to make sure that fire is not on the other side. If it feels hot, use your secondary escape route. Even if the door feels cool, open it carefully. Brace your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. If heat and smoke come in, slam the door and make sure it is securely closed. Use your alternate escape route.
Have a pre-arranged meeting place.
Discuss a specific meeting place with your family when organizing your safety plan. If you all meet under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or front sidewalk, you will know that everyone has gotten out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe. Designate one person to go to a neighbor's home to call the fire department.
Once out, STAY OUT!
Never go back into a burning building for any reason. If someone is missing, tell firefighters. They are equipped to perform rescues safely.