How to make a home fire escape plan
Only 23 percent of American households have developed a home fire escape plan to ensure they can escape quickly and safely.
The experts at the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association are offering advice on making your own such plan:
Gather everyone and walk through your home, inspecting all possible exits and escape routes. Develop a plan identifying two ways out of each room.
Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
When walking through your plan, check that escape routes are clear, and doors and windows can be opened easily.
Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after escaping.
Have everyone memorize the fire department's emergency phone number so they can call it from outside.
If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, assign someone to assist them. Assign a backup person in case the designee isn't home during the emergency.
Make sure window or door security bars have emergency release devices inside so they can be opened immediately.
If a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately. Residents of highrise and apartment buildings may be safer "defending in place."
Never go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call.
For more fire safety tips, visit www.nfpa.org.