A fire escape plan for the whole family

A fire escape plan for the whole family

  • How do I create a home fire escape plan?
  • How do I talk to my kids about fire safety? 
  • In the event of a fire, how do I protect my pets? 
  • How does a fire alarm system impact my family’s safety? 

Surely you’re familiar with the phrase, “Stop, drop, & roll!” But when it comes to your home and family, there is far more to fire safety.

Your home is your world. It’s the place you gather to unwind, to spend time with loved ones, and to create lasting memories. The people inside your home, however, are even more special.

When it comes to a home fire, disaster can strike in seconds, but proper emergency planning protects those you love most. So, how can you prepare your home and family? Preparing your fire escape plan is a place to begin.

Creating a home fire escape plan

Creating a fire escape plan can save lives. In the event of a home fire, knowing the steps to escape prevents panic, and allows you and your loved ones to exit the home safely. So, where do you begin creating your family’s fire escape plan? What elements should you consider?

When starting on your fire escape plan, begin by assessing your home’s layout. You might draw out the floorplan of your home, or simply consider the location of your living spaces and their nearby exits. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) recommends identifying two ways out of each room (living room, bedrooms, kitchen). This includes both doors and windows.

Think through these questions:

  • Where are the bedrooms located in the home?
  • Where are the nearest exits for each living space?
  • What windows might you safely exit if needed?
  • Are all exit points easily opened? Do all family members know how?
  • Will any of your family members need assistance exiting the home?

Once you’ve considered how your family will escape in the event of a home fire, you’ll want to decide on a designated meeting point. For your designated meeting point, select a place outside of the home that is easily recognizable, and at least fifty feet away from your home. You might choose to meet at your mailbox, at the end of a neighbor’s driveway, or in another location where you can safety await first responders.

Finally, after identifying exits and selecting a family meeting point, you should practice your fire escape plan. Aim for an evacuation time of under two minutes for the entire family. Practice your fire escape plan at least twice each year so it stays fresh in your family members’ minds.

Whether or not this plan is put to use (and we hope you won’t be needing it), this preparation will provide you with peace of mind.

Talking to children about fire safety

Addressing fire safety with small children can be challenging. When it comes to a home fire, however, the best way to protect your kids is to prepare them. Your fire escape plan should be shared with every member of your household, but how you talk about fire danger with children may require additional planning.

First, familiarize your children with your home fire alarms. It may seem simple, but when a fire alarm sounds, would a five-year-old know that’s their signal to escape?

When walking kids through the fire escape plan, we recommend keeping things simple. Above all else, prioritize evacuation. Emphasize the importance of your children’s safety over their toys or other belongings—even pets. Reassure your kids that firefighters will help save pets and other valuables once they have escaped.

National life safety and security dealer, First Alert, suggests drawing a map of your home, and asking kids to tract the safest paths to exit. Developing your children’s familiarity with and confidence in executing your home fire escape plan means they’re less likely to panic in the event of a fire emergency.

Though challenging, these conversations are worthwhile. In fact, they save lives!

Protecting your pets

Pets are important members of your family. When developing your fire escape plan, some families may choose to integrate their pets’ evacuation, while others may prioritize their own immediate escape, trusting first responders with pet rescue.

If you have furry (or reptilian) friends at home and plan to integrate their evacuation, dedicate just one person to pet escape. With dogs and cats, consider keeping a leash or other carrier near your common exit points. In the event of a fire, your pets may retreat to their frequent hiding places. Keep these in mind!

When creating a fire escape plan with pets, you might also place stickers on your windows to notify firefighters that animals are present. With a professional security system, you may also notify your trusted monitoring center of the pets in your home. This way, if your fire alarm sounds, operators may share this information as they dispatch local emergency departments.

We love our pets, but it’s important to remember: You should never endanger your own life, or the life of human family members, to rescue your pets. If you’re unable to safely escape with your pet, leave doors or windows open as you exit, and notify first responders as soon as they arrive on site.

Fire alarm and life safety devices

Working smoke alarms reduce the chances of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway… functioning fire alarm systems provide more than peace-of-mind, they offer concrete protection of the people you love most. At EPS Security, we’ve installed security and life safety systems in Michigan homes for more than 65 years. When you request a free quote, our expert security consultants will accompany you in a home safety walk-through.

Our experts will assess any existing fire alarm technology, identify areas of risk, and discuss options for adding or upgrading your life safety devices.

What sets EPS fire alarm systems apart?

Our EPS fire alarm systems are monitored security solutions. This means our fire alarm devices, such as smoke and heat detectors, communicate with our local, award-winning EPS Monitoring Center. When a fire alarm sounds at your home, your system will send a signal directly to our EPS Operators, notifying them of your need for fire response.

A monitored fire alarm system has many perks. Operating 24/7, 365 days a year, our EPS Monitoring Center is on stand-by in any emergency. If a fire alarm sounds while you’re at home, our operators will have your local fire department dispatched by the time you evacuate. If you’re away, we’ll send first responders, then notify you of an alarm at home.

The EPS advantage

As a local, family-owned, and full-service security provider, the safety of Michigan families is our priority. For more than 65 years, EPS Security has called Michigan home. From bridge, to border, our four locations in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Traverse City, and Petoskey allow us to provide quality security and customer service to the Great Lakes state. If you’re looking to get started on home security, to evaluate your existing equipment, or more, our team of qualified engineers, security consultants, and fire alarm experts are here to help.

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