The Importance of Having a Home Fire Plan in Preparation for a Potential Fire Damage Disaster
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth explains how a home fire plan can save lives when put in place in Haltom City, TX, homes.
SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth provides fire damage, smoke damage, and water damage cleanup and restoration services for Haltom City, TX, homes that have suffered a fire. No homeowner wants to go through the fear, chaos, and trauma of a house fire. But unfortunately, a house fire usually strikes at the least expected and most inopportune time.
If a fire breaks out, seconds can save lives. The following tips can help in the creation of a home fire plan and fire prevention strategy. The key to survival is anticipating a fire event and then planning, preparing, and practicing an evacuation plan and fire prevention strategies.
Tip #1: Plan for everyone, both residents and potential guests.
Inventory the needs of everyone in the home, from young to old and able-bodied to handicapped. Some children sleep through loud sounds, such as a thunderstorm or a smoke detector. Assign an older sibling to help the younger. Have a backup when the assigned companion is away.
Tip #2: Identify two ways to escape.
Start in each room. Locate at least two avenues of escape, including a window and a door. Check to ensure escape routes are easily accessible for everyone who might find themselves in the room at the time of a fire. Make sure security bars on windows or doors have emergency release devices.
Tip #3: Make the creation of a home fire plan a teaching moment for children.
When children are involved in the planning, they will be more enthusiastic when the time comes to practice and less fearful of executing the plan in an actual fire incident. If the task is age-appropriate, involve the children in drawing and coloring a map of the home. Each child can mark two escape routes and the locations of smoke detectors on their own individualized map. The maps can be framed, hung on the wall, and admired. An unmarked map can serve as a test and as a review.
Tip #4: Designate an emergency meet-up location.
Assign a meeting place outside the home: the mailbox, a decorative bench in the front yard, or a trusted neighbor’s house. As tempting as the backyard playground or sandbox is, the meet-up needs to be in the front yard so first responders can easily spot residents upon arrival. Drill into children younger and older: No one goes back into the house after leaving.
Tip #5: Put smoke detectors to the test.
Double-check to make sure smoke detectors are in the best locations in the home and that batteries are always new and working. January 1 and July 4 are popular holidays to also designate as battery replacement days. By associating some of the mundane tasks with celebrations, children will more readily participate in the replacement activity and then continue it as a tradition with their own future children.
A smoke detector should be installed in the following locations:
- in every sleeping room
- outside every sleeping room
- on every level of the home
- in the kitchen area and laundry room
Tip #6: Make a scene with the street number.
Emergency responders have access to GPS, but making the street number easily visible on the road, on the mailbox, and on the front door can only help. However, the Home Owners Association may have some restrictions or limitations.
Tip #7: Be a quick responder.
Three powerful words explain the priorities of the evacuation plan: serve, safe, swift. The assigned person mentioned above serves the purpose of helping a sibling escape safely and swiftly along with themselves.
Tip #8: Have a backup plan: shelter in place.
If evacuation is impossible due to smoke, fire, or structural damage, then shelter in place. Close all doors. Stuff a damp towel under the door. If at all possible, escape through an exterior-facing window. The family fire plan should include rope ladders for second-floor rooms. Have a powerful flashlight in every room so that occupants trapped in the room can signal emergency personnel of their whereabouts.
Tip #9: Call 911.
In the chaos and mayhem surrounding a home fire, the early notification of the fire department through 911 can be overlooked. Precious minutes can slip by as everyone evacuates the burning home. Sometimes everybody thinks someone else has called 911. The simple solution is to assign everyone the task of making sure someone has called 911.
Share the plan with everyone, especially during holidays and on weekends when many people have guests. When small children are in the home, review and practice some or all of the plan on a monthly basis. As the children grow and mature, the schedule can shift to quarterly discussions and drills. Practice saves lives.
SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth is dedicated to providing dependable fire damage cleanup and other cleaning and restoration services. The SERVPRO professionals are available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. Pre-qualify with SERVPRO before a property damage disaster takes place.