Fire is one of the most common and perilous hazards affecting homes and businesses. According to the Home Office, in the one year of 2021/22 alone, there were 334 fire-related fatalities in Great Britain.
Most of these fires occurred in residential and public buildings. And in many situations, a lack of an escape plan for fire emergencies was the undoing of victims. But what exactly is an escape plan, and how can you implement this strategy in preparation for fire emergencies?
This brief guide highlights how you can create a fire escape plan in five simple steps, providing tips and resources to help make your plan more practical and realistic.
What’s a Fire Escape Plan?
Simply put, a fire escape plan is a set of instructions guiding you, your family, or any house occupant out of your home in case of a fire emergency.
Typically, a fire escape plan will include information such as routes to exit the house safely, a rendezvous point to meet outside, and emergency numbers to call for help.
Though when you consider the chaos that ensues in fire situations, it may seem inconsequential to have an escape, putting this plan in place before a fire emergency can be the difference between a preventable death and a thrilling survival story you tell your friends and colleagues at work.
Steps To Creating a Fire Escape Plan For Your Home
Step 1: Identify All Possible Exits
The first step in creating a fire escape plan is identifying all possible ways to get out of your home in case of a fire. You should find the primary and secondary exits for each room, the primary exit being the door and the secondary exit a window or vent.
Furthermore, you should ensure all exits are clear of clutter and consider installing quick-release devices that you can open from inside if you have security bars on your windows.
Step 2: Draw A Floor Plan
The next step in plotting an escape plan is to draw a floor plan of your home and mark all the exits on it. Using a grid paper or online tool to sketch your building’s layout, label each room and mark the location of smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and emergency supplies, making sure to indicate their proximity to doors, windows, balconies, and fire escapes.
Endeavour to make copies of this floor plan and post them in visible places around your home, such as on the fridge, near the phone, or on the back doors for easy access.
Step 3: Pick A Rendezvous Point
When the innate human survival instinct kicks in amidst the chaos of a fire, locating house occupants can become challenging as everyone flees for their lives. Hence, the third step in escape planning is choosing a safe and easy-to-remember meeting place outside your home where everyone should gather after escaping a fire.
Ideally, this meeting place should be as far away from the house as possible and rid of any potential dangers, such as gas pipes or traffic. It may be a neighbour’s house, mailbox, a street sign, or a tree; the bottom line is to ensure everyone is aware of the address and phone numbers to call.
Step 4: Practice Your Plan
Try to conduct fire drills with your family as much as possible to test your plan and ensure everyone can get out quickly and safely. For added efficiency and better preparedness, practice your technique under varying weather conditions and at different times of the day using different exit routes. To make it realistic, you could vary the drills by pretending some exits are blocked by smoke or flames.
Step 5: Review and Update Your Plan Regularly
If you’ve recently made any changes to your home, such as adding windows, doors, new family members or pets, you should update your plan to fit these new variations. Another paramount measure you must pay attention to in reviewing your escape plan is checking your fire extinguisher’s function frequently and replacing your smoke alarm batteries at least once a year.
Creating a fire escape plan is crucial in ensuring your family’s safety in a fire emergency. As such, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of having a well-thought-out fire escape plan, as it can make all the difference in a crisis. Following these five simple steps can significantly increase your chances of a safe escape and protect your loved ones from harm.
Are you a UK resident looking for a fire risk assessment London professional to help curate an escape plan? GF Fire Solutions is an independent fire risk assessment company servicing residential, public, and industrial clients all over London.