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10/25/16blog post

could your family escape in 2 minutes or less?

Every 86 seconds, a house fire breaks out in the U.S. Could your family get out in two minutes or less? That’s the amount of time that it takes for a close call to turn into a tragedy. home disasters

If you are like most people, you know it’s important to plan how to get out of the house in the event of a fire—but you haven’t practiced it. While we do drills at school and work, most people never run a fire drill in their home. In honor of National Fire Prevention Month, Dayton Children’s is urging families to plan AND practice their home fire escape plan.

Eight out of ten fire-related deaths take place in the home, making it one of the largest disaster threats facing families today. “Creating a fire escape plan with your family and practicing it is a smart thing for every family to do,” says Abbey Rymarczyk, Safe Kids Greater Dayton and Dayton Children’s injury prevention coordinator. “In the event of an emergency, a child could feel overwhelmed or worried. Practicing can help teach your children be more confident in what they should do in case of a home fire.”

While smoke alarms are crucial for alerting you to an emergency, an escape plan can make all the difference in your family’s survival. Today’s homes burn faster than they did in the past and often do not have features such as sprinkler systems, making the need to get out quickly even more important. Dayton Children’s offers the three Ps to help your family stay safe:

Preparing:

  • Pick a family safety spot outside that’s near your home and a safe distance away.
  • Test your smoke alarms with your kids so they know what the beep sounds like.
  • For children under six, assign an adult to help them.
  • Draw out a plan showing the exits around the home.

Practicing:

  • Use a timer to ensure everyone can get out to the safety spot in two minutes or less - this is how much time a family has to safely exit the house in the event of a fire.
  • Practices several times, having children use different exits each time.
  • Test to see if children can unlock and open doors and windows themselves, sliding screens aside or pushing them out, if needed.
  • Pretend it’s real – stay low by crouching or crawling to avoid smoke, test doors for heat and set up escape ladders, if necessary.

Preventing:

  • Take continual steps to ensure your family is safe, including changing batteries in smoke and fire alarms at the upcoming time change in November.
  • Practice your plan regularly.
  • Service any household mechanisms that hold a fire hazard to ensure they are in proper working order.
  • Take care when cooking.