Escape plan can save family during fire

Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home—and replacing their batteries twice a year—is an important first step to keeping your family safe in the rare case of an electrical fire.

But when that unexpected alarm sounds, your children can panic.

Before an emergency strikes, prepare your kids—and yourself—to respond calmly and sensibly. The best way to do that is to plan for what everyone should do and go in case of a fire or gas leak.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Draw a map of the house’s floor plan and outline the best escape route. Teach your children what to do if a doorway is blocked by fire. Create an alternate route, especially from the child’s room or from areas of the house without easy access to the outdoors.
  • Agree on a meeting place outside of the house so the family will immediately know when everyone is safe.
  • Kids can memorize the familiar fire-safety drill: “Stop, drop and roll,” but words alone won’t keep them safe. Have children act out the moves. Then make a practice run through your escape routes and demonstrate to children how they should crawl and stay low to the ground to prevent smoke inhalation.
  • If you have a fire extinguisher in the house, show children how to use it. Still, remind them that their safest action is to escape as quickly as possible.
  • Keep a cell phone in a visible and easily accessible place in case of emergencies. That way, you can get out of the house and then call 911.
  • Don’t waste time grabbing documents or keepsakes. Keep important or irreplaceable items like birth certificates and photo negatives in a fire-proof box or a safe deposit box at the bank.