Exit Drills In The Home
Why Exit Drills In The Home? (E.D.I.T.H.)
- The U.S. has one of the highest fire death rates in the industrialized world.
- Almost 4,000 people in the U.S. die in fires every year.
- Each year fire kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined.
- Over 80% of these deaths occur in the home, the place where people feel the safest.
- Most people don’t know that from the time a fire starts you have only 4 minutes to reach safety.
What Should I Do?
- Draw a floor plan of your home.
- Find 2 escape routes from each room (usually the door and window).
- Pick a safe meeting place out front and away from the house—a large tree, the neighbors’ house, a mailbox. Everyone must go there immediately after getting out of the house.
- Go over the plan carefully with all members of the family and make certain everyone knows what to do.
- PRACTICE THE PLAN, paying attention to any portion of the plan that doesn’t work the way you intended it to.
- Make the practice realistic.
- Do it at different times of the day, especially at night.
- Pretend that some of the exits are blocked by smoke and fire: what would do then?
- Emphasize to children they are never to get under the bed or go into a closet, even if they’re scared.
- Everyone should know you should feel the door before opening it. If it is hot, do not open it. Put bedding, towels, etc., at the base of the door to help keep smoke out. Use your second way out if possible.
- Make sure smoke alarms are installed (and working) on every level of your home. The most important areas are inside each bedroom as well as the hallways outside of them.
- Sleep with the bedroom doors shut. This can prevent fire and poisonous gases from entering the room. This can also buy you extra time if you are trapped in your room.
- Have an escape ladder in every bedroom on a second (or higher) floor.
- Make sure everyone in the household can unlock and open all doors and windows quickly.
- Make special arrangements for children, older adults, and those with disabilities.
- Lower children down from a window before escaping yourself.
- Keep all of your exits (doors and windows) clear and accessible at all times.
- Crawl low under smoke.
If You Have A Fire
- The most important thing is that you get out and stay out–NEVER reenter a burning structure.
- If someone is unaccounted for and you are certain he/she was there, tell the firefighters. Firefighters are trained to rescue people in burning houses and have the necessary clothing and tools to do it.
- It is safest for your family and the firefighters if everyone is outside and you and your family are outside at your designated meeting place.
For more information, visit the National Fire Prevention Association
If you have questions or need help coming up with your escape plan, please call (707) 838-1170.
All Statistics: 2013 United States Fire Administration (USFA)