TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. - In the event of a fire, remember every second counts. It only takes a few minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. Creating an escape plan will help everyone in the house get out quickly.
Develop a home escape plan for your family.
Identify at least two escape routes from each room of your home.
1. Draw a map of your home that shows all the doors and windows.
2. Go around to every room in your house to make sure it has two or more ways to escape. Exits can be either a window or a door. This is very important because if the fire is behind one door, you can then escape through another door or window. Check windows to make sure the glass isn't stuck and screens can be swiftly removed.
3. If your house has more than one level room make sure everyone knows where the emergency ladder is kept for each room on the upper levels. Parents and children should practice going down the emergency ladder. Make sure they have been evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory like UL.
4. When everyone has escaped from the house, they should meet at a pre-planned meeting place outside.
5. Make sure the meeting area is a bit far from the house so everyone can stay safe. Also remember the firemen will need space for their trucks and equipment, so don't block the area around the house.
6. Post your escape plan on the refrigerator. Gather the whole family and practice, practice, practice escaping from an imaginary fire. Some things to include in your practice drills are: escaping from both ways out of each room; schedule practices for day time and at night; use your hand to feel a door's heat and remain crouched down as close to the floor as possible just like you would in a real fire. By practicing your plan with your family, if there ever is a fire in real life, it won't be so scary since everyone will know exactly what to do.
7. Once you're out of a burning home - stay out! Do not go back in for any reason until the fireman have said that it is safe.
For more fire safety tips and to download your free checklist and emergency preparedness guide visit www.AreYouFireSafe.com.