5 Fire Safety FAQs You Should Know

by Susan Evans

Do I really need to leave if the smoke alarm goes off?

YES! It’s an alarm and it goes off for a reason. Leave the building at the first sign of fire and EVERY TIME you hear a smoke or fire alarm.

Don’t take the time to investigate. Leave immediately and call 9-1-1.

Should bedroom doors be shut while we sleep?

Yes. Why? In addition to privacy, doors can act as smoke shields and also increase potential escape time. At night consider shutting doors to all rooms in your home (bathroom, office, basement) in case a fire starts in those rooms.

OK, I’ll make a fire escape plan – but how?

Good for you! Here’s how to make a home emergency exit plan:

  1. Draw a floor plan of each floor(s) of your residence.
  2. Mark two escape routes from each room.
  3. Designate a place for the family to meet outside the house.
  4. If your meeting spot is a neighbor’s house, make sure all family members know the neighbor’s address and phone number. And, make sure to tell your neighbor that they are ‘it.’
  5. Now – practice escaping and practice often.

This video covers making a home escape plan.

My kids are at ‘that age’ – how do I get them to take part in fire safety?

Fire safety doesn’t have to be a chore. Make a game of it – and be sure that there are rewards at the end (Pizza? Allowance? Car keys?). Here are some ideas:

  • Have your kids choose the place where you’ll all meet in case you need to leave the house immediately. Make the deal with your kids that they will stay in that spot until they are told by firefighters that it is OK to move.

WHN TIP – Keep Access Clear: Make sure your meeting place is away from the road and driveway – first responder vehicles will drive on these.

  • You’ve done the family escape plan – place a copy in each family member’s bedroom (and guest bedrooms!). Have your kids color in their escape routes (remember they have to have two exits to color in).
  • Have your kids choose where they’d like to place the escape plan in their room (you need to make it’s easily accessible.).
  • Practice your escape plan every month and practice using two exits. Make sure windows and doors are easy to open and that screens can be removed.

WHN TIP – Practice, Practice, Practice: Practice at night to see how long family members take to wake up. You should also practice blindfolded. Why? Smoke makes it very difficult to see anything.

  • In all of this – don’t forget to practice yourself! Have your kids time you – or have a neighbor time your whole family. Then – return the favor and time your neighbor.

Do I need smoke alarms in each bedroom?

Yes! Smoke alarms should be inside each bedroom as well as on each level of your home.

WHN TIP — Can You Hear the Alarm? Make sure you can hear the smoke alarms in every part of your home. Some brands make systems that sound all alarms when one alarm is triggered; when you’re purchasing your alarms, ask how they function.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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