Fire safety means making and practicing an evacuation plan

If a fire breaks out in your home or workplace, you may have only a few minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Photo courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association

Fermilab wants its employees and users to be safe at home as well as at work. That’s why we want you to be prepared to handle a house fire.

According to a National Fire Protection Agency survey, only one of every three American households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan, and even then many underestimate the amount of time they have to escape. When polled, one-third of Americans said they would have at least six minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. The time available is often far less. Only eight percent of people said that their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out.

Here are some safety tips to improve your preparedness:

  • Make a home escape plan.
  • Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows.
  • Discuss the plan with everyone in your home.
  • Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible.
  • Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
  • Have an outside meeting place (such as a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.
  • Practice your fire drill twice a year, both at night and during the day, with everyone in your home.
  • Practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave.
  • If the alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Never go back inside for people or pets.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to get out.
  • Call the fire department from outside your home.

National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 9 through Oct. 15. Make your plan and practice it.

J.B. Dawson