4:33 Flames just now visible from exterior of house -
first evidence of fire from outside.
AT THIS POINT, RESCUE MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE.
Planning gives you the information you need
ahead of time to evacuate safely. In the home, the entire family should get
together and develop a plan with at least two exits for leaving the house,
and agreeing on a common meeting area for all family members. In the workplace, employees and supervisors
should plan together for exiting their worksite. At school, involve all school
staff including teachers, administrative and office workers, and the
maintenance and food service staff.
Working together, design an evacuation plan to meet the specific needs of
your building and your occupants. Make the plan clear and concise. Review the
plan and walk through the exit procedure to make sure that everyone knows what
Each building, whether it be a school, workplace or multi-family living
unit, should have a posted exit diagram (plan) and everyone should be familiar
Be sure that smoke detectors are installed and maintained. Know the sound
of the fire alarm. Everyone should recognize and respond to the sound of the
smoke detector or other fire alarm immediately. Immediate response is vital
for a quick, orderly evacuation.
Everyone should exit in an orderly manner to prevent confusion and minimize
panic or injury. No one should push their way out an exit. Single file lines
are best in controlling traffic to the exits.
Consider special needs people. When developing your escape plan, remember
that younger, older, or disabled people may need special assistance. Anyone
with special needs should be located as close to an exit as possible. Train
others to give special assistance with evacuation.
Be sure to know two ways out. There should be two ways out of every
area of the home, school, or workplace. If the primary exit is blocked by
smoke or fire, use your second exit. Point out all emergency exits as you walk
through the emergency procedure.
Always use the stairways to exit multi-story buildings. Do not use an
elevator. An elevator may stop between floors, or go to the fire floor and
stop with the doors open.
If a room or corridor is filled with smoke, crawl low on your hands and
knees to exit. The cleaner air is closer to the ground.
Plan your meeting place. A designated meeting place outside the
building is a vital part of an evacuation plan. Count heads. Be aware of who
is there (hopefully everybody will be accounted for) and who is not there.
When the fire department arrives, you can report if there is anyone missing.
Know what to do if you can't escape. You'll need to plan your actions in
case immediate escape is impossible. If possible, for example, stay in a room
with an outside window and always close doors between you and the fire. Think
about what you could use - sheets, towels, curtains, or even large pieces of
clothing - to stuff around cracks near the door and wave as a signal to
rescuers. Know how to open the window to ventilate smoke, but be prepared to
close the window immediately if an open window makes the room smokier. If
there is a phone, call the fire department with your location, even if
firefighters are already on the scene. Remember, stay low in smoke until
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After planning, practice to make sure
that everyone knows what to do. Have fire drills. Practice your fire escape
periodically throughout the year. Remember, the element of surprise simulates
a real fire and adds essential realism to your fire drill program.
Appoint someone to monitor the drill. This person will sound the alarm and
make the drill realistic by requiring participants to use their second way out
or to crawl low. This could be done by having someone hold up a sign reading
"smoke" or "exit blocked by fire." The monitor also will measure how long
complete evacuation takes.
Coordinate arrangements for fire drills in apartments or other multi-family
homes, in schools or in workplaces with the local fire department.
After the evacuation, take a head count at the designated meeting place(s)
to account for everyone's participation and safe evacuation.
When everyone is back inside the building after the drill, gather everyone
together to discuss any questions or problems that occurred during the drill.
Redesign the drill procedures as needed. Make the next fire drill even more
Remember, once you are outside, stay outside. Don't go back in until the
proper authorities say it is okay.
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