How to prepare for home fire escape


Your ability to get out of your home during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and proactive planning. Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one to two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds.

According to a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) survey, only one of every three households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan with only 8 percent saying their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out. The survey also discovered that while 71 percent of American households have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 47 percent of those have practiced it.

In 2022, 7 percent of the fire fatalities in Washington state were in areas where smoke alarms or detectors were found to be present and operational. In those fatalities, human factors, such as the individual being asleep, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or having a physical or mental impairment, may have contributed to the individual not escaping the fire. Creating and practicing an escape plan could have resulted in different outcomes.

The state fire marshal’s office asks that you plan ahead with these safety tips:

• Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows and discuss the plan with everyone in your home.

• Know at least two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading to the outside open easily.

• Have an outside meeting place a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.

• Practice your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year, and practice using two different ways out.

• Teach children how to escape on their own in case no one can help them.

• Close the doors behind you as you leave. A closed door may slow the spread for smoke, heat and fire.

• If there are family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and assign a backup person in case that person is not home or unavailable.

For more information, contact the state fire marshal’s office at 360/596-3929.

Courtesy Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office 


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