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The Family Fire Drill

Every member of the family should play a part in developing a family escape plan and practicing fire drills. Everyone first must know what escape route to take out of the house as soon as a smoke alarm sounds.

Escape ladder, stored in second-story room, provides a second escape route.

Escape ladder, stored in second-story room, provides a second escape route.

Determine who will take responsibility for little, aged, or disabled ones. Decide on a nearby place to meet after leaving the house.

If the alarm goes off, evacuate the house quickly and calmly call the fire department from a cell phone or neighbor’s house.

Make sure that your house numbers are large and easily seen at night. Do not ever go back into the burning building.

Each room should have two exits, such as a door and a window, that provide safe exit. Equip each upper-story window designated as a fire exit with a hook-on fire escape ladder. Make sure that all adults and older children know how to install and climb down the ladder and practice doing so. Keep each ladder handy in a box below the window or under a bed.

Go over how to feel an interior door during a fire, and stress that under no circumstances should it be opened if it is hot. (Leave all doors and windows not designated escape routes closed; however, don’t take the time to close them if they’re open.)

Review the proper way to exit, on hands and knees, where the air is freshest—carbon monoxide poisoning, not flames, is the number-one killer in fires. Finally, tell all family members that if trapped in smoke or fire to yell for help from a window.

About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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