Your home is supposed to be a safe place. To make it safe, you take certain common sense precautions. Before bed, you lock up the doors and windows. The garage door isn’t left open overnight. When you go on vacation, you make sure the mail doesn’t pile up and create a telltale sign for burglars. But when it comes to staying safe in the event of a fire, you need to do better than a fire escape. You need a plan.

Yesterday, we shared some suggestions with you regarding the creation of a fire safety plan for your home. Fires can start at home for reasons as simple as a cooking accident or a malfunctioning electrical system. When they start, they can move fast, and you need to be ready in case of an emergency. Read on for more tips to create a smart fire safety plan.

  • If there’s a fire, you definitely should call 911. However, the time to make a phone call is after everyone has evacuated the house and gone to a safe space. Young children should be taught how to make this call, and they need to know their address and a phone number.
  • If you have a larger family that includes babies, small children, or older family members, it’s a smart idea to give one person the job of helping those people out during an emergency. During an evacuation, speed is a necessity, but some people simply can’t move fast and will need assistance.
  • During an evacuation, if a door handle feels hot to the touch, or a door is open and you can feel heat, don’t touch it. A fire might be on the other side of the door. In a situation like this, use your secondary escape route.
  • During an emergency, being burnt by fire isn’t the only thing to worry about. Toxic smoke inhalation is an issue that’s just as serious, and far more insidious. Teach children that, if they see or smell smoke, to crawl on the ground to reduce the chances of impairing their breathing.
  • If you’ve made it out of the house during a fire, the temptation is extremely strong to want to go back in if another family member, pet, or beloved heirloom is still inside. We completely understand, but doing this not only puts you at risk but reduces the odds of a successful rescue. Firefighters have the tools, protection, and extensive training to undertake a rescue. If someone is still inside, let the operator know when you call 911.
  • Part of preparing for a real fire is the understanding that the drill needs to be taken seriously. Let children hear what the smoke alarm sounds like, and instruct them that when they hear that particular noise, they need to get out of the house fast. When practicing fire drills, perform them during the day and at night. This teaches children that an emergency can happen at any time. Remember that you don’t want your children to be scared, you want them to be prepared and ready.