According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 1,240,000 fires were reported in 2013. Of those fires, 3,240 people died, 15,925 people sustained injuries, and damages occurred valued at $11.5 billion. That’s a lot of homes and businesses that require repairs, a lot of recovery, and a lot of lives lost.

At Americana Fence, installing and repairing fire escape stairs is one of our specialties. That’s because fire safety is both a passion and a priority for us. When a fire starts, it can spread with terrifying speed. Whether it starts at home or work, you may only have a few minutes to escape when the smoke alarm sounds. Having a plan in place is a wise move, so please use these simple tips for setting up an escape plan that’s simple and effective.

  • In order to develop a smart escape plan, you’ll need a map of your home or office. This map should clearly show where doors, windows, and stairways are located. You’ll need to discuss the plan and practice it with family members or employees. During a fire, the situation can be frightening and disorienting. But when the escape routes are walked repeatedly, the memory can help to save lives. At home, practice the escape routes during the day and at night.
  • Speaking of escape routes, if at all possible, make sure there are at least 2 different ways out of any room or area. If you have doors or windows that open to the outdoor, it’s imperative that they open smoothly and easily.
  • Is the number of your home or place of business clearly visible and legible from the road? If not, take the time to either paint the number on the curb or install large numbers that are easy to read. The last thing you need during an emergency is firefighters arriving late because they couldn’t find the place.
  • Once everyone has successfully evacuated the business, it’s important to do a headcount. Agree on a meeting spot that’s outside and is a safe distance away from the building.
  • Once the smoke alarm starts sounding, it’s important to get out and stay out. Going back into a burning building for people, pets, or personal property is foolhardy at best. Instead, when you call 911 from outside, let the operator know that people are missing. Firefighters have the equipment and the training to handle rescues, and they will be much more effective than you will be.
  • During a fire, never use the elevator to get to the ground floor. Always use stairs instead. If people in your home or office have problems with climbing stairs, factor this information into your escape plan.
  • Obviously, your safest escape route is the one with the least amount of heat and smoke. Smoke is highly toxic and can be very dangerous. However, be ready to escape underneath smoke if necessary. Practice heading for the exits by staying as low as possible.
  • If your home or business has multiple floors, you’ll need a way to escape from the outside of the building at the upper floors. By installing escape ladders at an easily accessible location, such as near a window, you can ensure you have another way out if the interior of the building is impassable.