Contact: Vail Fire Department, 970-479-2250
Developing and practicing a home fire escape plan that everyone understands can mean the difference between life and death. Fire can grow and spread through your home very quickly. It's important that you be prepared to react as soon as the smoke alarm sounds. These tips can help you put together– and practice – an effective home fire escape plan.
- Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Draw a floor plan of your home, showing two ways out of each room, including windows. Don't forget to mark the location of each smoke alarm.
- Test all smoke alarms (Listed by a qualified testing laboratory) monthly to ensure that they work. Replace batteries as needed.
- Make sure that everyone understands the escape plan. Are the escape routes clear? Can doors and windows be opened easily?
- If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have quick release mechanisms so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Quick-release mechanisms won't compromise your security – but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
- Practice the escape plan at least twice a year, making sure that everyone is involved – from kids to grandparents. If there are infants or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them.
- Agree on an outside meeting place where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Remember to get out first, then call for help. Never go back inside until the fire department gives the OK.
- Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a cellular phone or a neighbor's home.
- Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately. And once you're out, stay out – leave the firefighting to the professionals!
- If you live in an apartment building, make sure that you're familiar with the building's evacuation plan. In case of a fire, use the stairs, never the elevator.
(Source: NFPA 2002)