Practice and confidence in an escape plan can save the lives of family members if a fire ever occurs in your home. House fires account for 80% of the fires in the United States and the majority of fire injuries and fatalities.
The Chilhowie Fire Department has prepared these instructions to assist families in the preparing and practicing Exit Drills in the Home.
Step 1 - Floor Plan
Use a grid to draw a floor plan of your home. Mark all of the exits from each such as doors and windows. Draw two escape routes from each room, especially the bedrooms which usually have only one common hallway.
Have all family members assist in preparing the drawing to bring their attention to door and window exits from each room.
Select and mark a meeting place outside the home for all family members to gather and remain. Have a neighbor's house selected from which to call the fire department.
Step 2 - Discuss your plan
Every member should be familiar with your plan and the two escape routes from every room in the house. Know the emergency number for the fire department. In Chilhowie and Smyth County, the number is 911. Sleeping with bedroom doors closed at night will slow the spread of deadly fire, smoke and heat. When following your escape route, be sure to close doors behind you. Make sure everyone knows the sound of the smoke detector and small children are not afraid of the sound.
Step 3 - Practice your escape plan
Have everyone get into bed and sound the smoke detector. Each person should roll out of bed and crawl to the door. Feel the door with the back of the hand - if it is hot, use the second escape route. If the door is cool, open the door slowly and look for smoke or fire in the hallway. If the hall is clear, follow the escape plan to your meeting place outside the house. Count heads at the meeting place and send someone to call the Fire Department from the neighbor's home. If a family member is missing in an actual fire, DO NOT reenter the house. The person may be out of the house, but not at the meeting place. Reentering the house has resulted in many people dying needlessly in rescue attempts. Meet the Fire Department in front of the house and direct firefighters to the area of the house where a person may be located. If you live in a large apartment building, practice using the stairs as an escape route. Elevators should never be used as the heat from a fire can cause the elevator to go to the fire floor.
Step 4 - Review your plan
Regular review of your plan develops habits that enable you to react correctly in an actual fire. When you go on trips, "Plan to Get Out Alive" in your motel, or when staying with friends or relatives.