The best way to fight a fire is to prevent it from happening in the first place. There are several things families can do to lessen the chances of a fire starting in their homes. Some fires cannot be prevented, so families need to have a plan of action that everyone knows and has practiced in the event of a fire.
Develop a Fire Escape Plan
Do you have a fire escape plan for your home and farm? Do all your family members and workers know where the fire extinguishers are? Do you have smoke alarms installed, and are they functioning properly? Does the fire department know where water can be obtained on the farm? If you can answer yes to these questions, you are on the right track. If not, a more detailed plan needs to be developed.
Planning is the best way to prepare for a fire. Make a fire escape plan and practice it. Remember to include children because they often panic during fires and hide in closets and under beds where they can’t be found. Hold fire drills. Discuss the results, and improve the procedure. Place fire extinguishers on every floor, and read the instructions out loud so everyone knows how to use them. Install smoke alarms, and put a rope ladder near an upstairs window.
Here is a basic fire escape plan:
- Make an outline of the entire floor area.
- Add each room, label the map.
- Locate windows, doors, and stairways. Show rooftops that also can be used. Can each escape route really be used in an emergency?
- Select the best window in each room. Test it to be sure it works easily and it is large and low enough. Can children unlock and open windows?
- Have two escape plans. Use black arrows to show normal exits through the hall or stairway; colored arrows for alternative routes if fire blocks the hallway or stairs.
- Keep all exit routes clear of any objects and debris. Nothing should be in the way to hinder escape.
- Designate a meeting place outside. If you can, the front of your home is the best place. That is where the fire department will arrive. Once outside, make it clear that no one goes back in for any reason until the fire department says it’s safe.
- Practice exit drills. Although a smoke detector gives you extra time, you still need to know what to do when a fire occurs. If you have planned and practiced an escape, you will know! The more you practice, the better the chances that you and your family will act from practice and not from panic. Plan a drill at least once every six months.