Emergency can strike at any time. Having a plan in place can be a difference-maker in ensuring you and your family are able to get out safely. Are you prepared?
November 24 – 30 is National Home Fire Safety Week and the Canada Safety Council is reminding all Canadians to have a fire escape plan in case of emergency.
“Fire can start in the blink of an eye,” said Gareth Jones, President and CEO of the Canada Safety Council. “Preparation is essential. Everyone should know how to get out of their house at a moment’s notice — because in some cases, a moment’s notice is all you will get.”
Home fires, of course, can spread rapidly. They can occur for a wide variety of reasons, including faulty appliances and wiring, flammable materials that are left too close to a heat source, open flames left unguarded and carelessness when handling lit objects like cigarettes.
A good home fire escape plan is crucial and everyone in the household should be involved in its creation. Walk through the home, taking note of all potential escape routes. If your household has younger children or includes people who are more visual learners, consider drawing a physical map of the house with at least two exits out of each room clearly identified.
Here are a few other tips to help you along as you’re considering your fire escape plan:
- Plan ahead of time with regards to any seniors, infants, and mobility-impaired individuals. Identify someone in the home whose responsibility it is to assist them in the event of an emergency.
- Plan a meeting location once outside. This is the spot by which everyone in the household should gather once the house has been evacuated. It should be a safe distance from the home and easily identifiable.
- Practice your fire escape plan twice a year, making sure to be as realistic as possible with it. Practice for safe speed — time may be of the essence.
- At the same time, keep in mind that practice doesn’t have to induce fear. It’s okay to warn the household ahead of time that there will be a fire drill.
- Once you’re out, stay out. Even if someone is missing, firefighters are much better equipped to be able to rescue them safely than you will be in a moment of panic and high adrenaline.
Be cautious, be proactive, be safe. A fire can be a devastating and traumatizing experience but, by putting your safety and the safety of your family first, you’ll be best positioned to escape with the most irreplaceable thing you have: your lives.
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