Every year in Canada, firefighters battle more than 50,000 residential fires1. As they put their lives at risk to save yours, you can also do your part by following a personal fire escape plan.
When a fire starts in your home, there’s no time to waste - you need to get your family out, calmly and efficiently. The following steps will help you prepare your fire escape plan and ensure your family is better equipped to survive a fire in your home…
1. Start with a visual
Draw a basic floor plan of your home showing all interior and exterior doors, windows and staircases. You can print out a fire escape template here.
2. Make alternate routes
Every room should have at least two ways out. Doors should be main exits, while windows can be used as secondary exits. Know that before exiting a closed room, you should always test the doorknob for heat before opening the door. A heated doorknob indicates fire may be close by. Opening the door could fuel the fire with oxygen and pull flames into the room. Simply checking the doorknob lets you know if the window is a safer means of escape. Practise using all routes out of your home, such as your front door, back door, basement windows or basement door.
3. Keep an escape ladder handy
If you live in a home of 2 or more storeys, make sure you plan an escape route for each level. Purchase a collapsible fire escape ladder and show your family how to use it.
4. Designate helpers
Make assistance plans for everyone in your home, from babies and toddlers, to the elderly and others, who may require help to escape.
5. Make a safe meeting place
Designate a location where your family will meet once they are out of the house. Choose a streetlight, a mailbox, even in front of a neighbour's house. Situated a safe distance from your home, this meeting place will allow you to immediately account for those who are safe and those who are still en route or inside your home. This information, along with the possible locations of any missing family members, should be provided to first responders as soon as they arrive.
6. Practise your drill
Run your drill both during the day and at night at least once a year. Practising at night is particularly important because this is when most fatal fires occur2. To help keep children calm when there is an emergency, tell them when there will be a night drill before they go to sleep. Praise a child for taking part in a successful drill. If children are prepared, they are less likely to be frightened in the event of an actual fire. Teach children how to escape on their own in the event that you cannot help them. They should know never to hide during a fire, but to stay calm, get out and stay out.
7. Review smoke and fire safety basics
Most fire fatalities are not from burns, but from inhalation of smoke3. Because heat and smoke rise, always stay close to the floor where you are more likely to find breathable air. If you are wearing clothing that catches on fire, always remember to stop, drop and roll! Everyone of all ages should know this tip, but particularly children who may be unaware of how to behave around fire. Turn this safe practice into a game.
8. Keep your fire escape plan in plain view
Post your fire escape floor plan on your fridge or family bulletin board.
Help avoid a fire tragedy this winter
In Canada, house fires are most likely to occur between December and March4 because people are using their heat sources more often and vents can become blocked with snow and debris, causing smoke to build up. Ensure you have winter safety precautions in place:
- Give your heating system, particularly boilers and chimneys, a cleaning and tune-up.
- Give heaters space, never placing them too close to anything that could be flammable.
- Make sure wood-burning stoves and all fireplaces are well-maintained with safety doors or screens in place.
- Never leave cooking food or lit candles unattended.
- Subscribe to a 24/7 fire monitoring service.
ADT Canada offers 24/7 professional fire monitoring from our 3 ULC Canadian monitoring centres located coast to coast. At the first signs of a fire, our monitoring centres will alert you and then emergency services, so that vital first response help is on its way. Your alarm system does not need to be armed for your monitored detector to communicate with our monitoring centres. Call 800-653-9111 today to talk to one of our security experts about our fire monitoring from ADT Canada, the most trusted name in the security industry and backed by the most trusted employees.