According to a recent study, 77 percent of American households have not developed and practiced a plan to ensure they could escape quickly and safely during a home fire. According to Safe Kids USA, home fires account for nearly 90 percent of all fire-related fatalities, and young children are at a particularly high risk because they don’t perceive danger as readily and can lack the ability to escape a life-threatening fire situation.
Every day at least one child dies in a home fire. In that same day, 293 children suffer from a non-fatal unintentional injury caused by a fire or burn. These statistics cannot be ignored.
Planning an escape is key to keeping your family safe. We rely on the fire service to fight fires once they occur; however, the prevention of fire is up to all of us. Fire is everyone’s fight!
Safe Kids USA has a great fire escape worksheet that you can use to plan your family’s escape in case of a fire.
Additional tips for planning and practicing how to escape from a home fire include:
- Make sure all windows and screens can be opened quickly.
- Security bars should have a quick release device so you can open windows and doors in an emergency.
- For upstairs windows, have an escape ladder that fits your windows. Make sure your children know that the escape ladder is for emergencies only and is not a toy.
- Practice feeling the door, doorknob, and cracks around the door with the back of your hand to see if it is too hot. Help your children practice this step.
- Teach children to “get low and go” if there is smoke when they are leaving the home.
- Choose a safe place to meet in front of your home where you can be seen from the street.
- If you cannot safely escape your home or apartment, stuff the cracks around the door and air vents with duct tape, towels or clothing and call 911.
As winter weather comes and heaters are turned on, the change for fire increases. Now is the time to prepare.