Yes, our firm handles mostly automobile accidents but we do take on a variety of other injury claims. Several years ago, I represented a wonderful man who got caught in a terrible house fire. While trying to save his two young children, he received horrific burns which almost killed him. And the ironic thing about it was that he and his family had implemented and practiced a fire evacuation plan for just such an emergency. The terribly ironic thing was that his landlord had boarded up his 2nd floor fire escape which in essence trapped my client on the 2nd floor. Luckily, a good samaritan was able to get a ladder and help rescue the two children, but my client couldn’t escape before the flames caught up to him. I was thinking of that client recently and decided it would be good to blog about the importance of having an evacuation plan and other fire safety issues.
First, the reason you need a plan is because fire can spread quickly so every second of reaction time is precious. Get your family together and map out your house. Figure out how each person can escape safely, taking into account all the possible scenarios of where a fire may be located. It may be helpful to draw a map out of the house. Mark every door and window exit available for escape. Most importantly, practice with your children at least once a quarter so they don’t forget your evacuation plans. Here are a few more safety tips:
- Ensure you have smoke detectors on every floor and outside every bedroom. Check them monthly.
- Have plenty of fire extinguishers throughout your house.
- Have an emergency escape ladder in every upstairs room with a window exit.
- Arrange furniture under windows to aid in exit, but never block your ability to open a window and exit.
- Arrange a safe meeting place outside of your house for all family members to congregate after escape.
- When evacuating during a fire, stay low to the ground as smoke rises.
- Feel doors before opening. If a door is hot, take a different route.
- Close doors behind you to prevent the spread of fire.
Hopefully you will never be caught in a house fire but by practicing these safety tips, you can help ensure that you and your family can get out safely.