Grand Rapids, MI (Vocus) April 10, 2010
Fire happens unexpectedly, and many times in the middle of the night when families are sleeping. That’s why it’s important to have an escape plan in place – you won’t have time to create a plan during a crisis. Foremost encourages you and your family to be prepared and follow these tips.
Practice Fire Drills Often
Families should practice fire drills at least twice a year so everyone is aware of what to do when a real fire occurs. Set up multiple scenarios and practice drills at different times of the day so your family learns how to get out safely from every room in your house. Once everyone is comfortable, you may want to consider a fire drill at night when everyone’s asleep to see if your smoke detectors are loud enough to wake your family members.
- Make a rough sketch of your home’s floor plan and label all possible exits, including windows and doors.
- Plan at least two different escape routes from each room.
- Designate a meeting place outside your home, like your mailbox or neighbor’s driveway.
- Assign someone to help young and elderly people.
- Choose someone to make sure family pets are safely out of the house and practice fire drills with your pets.
- Teach children they must get outside and not to hide in closets or under beds.
- Have one person to go to a neighbor’s home and call the fire department.
Prepare Your Windows for Fast Escape
There is more to safety than simply knowing where the escape points are in your home. Check to make sure every window and door is fully functional before each fire drill. Teach your family how to unlock and open all of their possible exits. If they can’t get a window open during an actual fire, instruct them to break it with chair, lamp or shoe and get out. Watch out for sharp glass.
- Remove any installation clips from the outside of your windows.
- Make sure windows are not stuck or painted shut.
- Check if screens and security bars can be quickly removed.
- Have a collapsible ladder ready for escape from upper-story windows.
- Have your entire family practice unlocking and opening windows and doors.
Keep Fire Extinguishers Handy
Some small fires may be contained before they get out of control. If you know how to use an extinguisher and have an escape route in place in case the fire does grow larger, carefully follow the instructions and try to put out the flames. If the fire is not out after using the extinguisher, get out and call the fire department.
- Store a multi-purpose fire extinguisher in the kitchen and on every level of your home.
- Make sure they’re dry-chemical extinguishers, suitable for class A, B and C fires.
- Teach all family members how to operate them.
- Always keep extinguishers recharged and ready to use.
- Never throw water on a grease fire! Instead smother the fire with a lid, baking soda or dry-chemical extinguisher.
Test All Smoke Detectors
More than half of all fatal home fires occur while people sleep. Correctly installing smoke detectors and checking them regularly will help warn your family when a fire does occur, giving you time to safely escape.
- Install at least one smoke detector on every level of your home. For extra safety, install one inside and outside of every bedroom.
- Place them on the ceiling or 6-12 inches from the ceiling since smoke rises.
- Have a qualified technician install hard-wired alarms.
- Make sure there is a battery back-up for hard-wired alarms.
- Test all fire detectors monthly.
- Change batteries at least once a year or immediately if your detector is chirping – this means the battery is getting low.
Play it Safe During a Fire
If a fire does occur, these well-known tips can help you stay safe.
- Crawl to the nearest safe exit since the clearest air is 12 to 24 inches above the floor.
- Carefully touch the bottom of all doors before opening them. If they're hot, don't open them. Find another way out.
- Remember the stop, drop and roll rule. Don’t run if your clothes catch fire. Stop, drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands to protect your face and lungs, and roll until you smother the flames.
For more ways to prevent a fire or keep your family safe, visit the Foremost Insurance interactive fire safety page at http://www.Foremost.com/safety/home-safety/interactive-fire-safety.
Foremost Insurance Group is a single source for personal property and casualty and commercial insurance. A part of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies®, Foremost has been a leader in the insurance industry since 1952. Foremost is headquartered in Caledonia, Michigan. To learn more about our products or share your feedback, visit http://www.Foremost.com, our Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/foremostinsurance or our Twitter page at http://www.Twitter.com/foremost.
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