It’s the middle of the night. You are sound asleep when suddenly a loud noise jars you from your slumber. You jump out of bed, dazed and confused. After a few seconds you realize the smoke detector is in alarm. Do you know what to do next? Unfortunately many people don’t. According to the National Fire Protection Association, only one in four people have developed and practiced a fire escape plan. If a fire does break out in your home, a thought out and rehearsed escape plan can save your life.

Begin your escape plan by walking through your house; look for two ways to exit each room and make sure all escape routes are free of obstacles. In the event of a fire, visibility may be limited or non-existent, so keep pathways clear. If you have security bars on your windows, check to see if the release lever is accessible and the windows and bars open easily.

If you have young children, get them involved in the planning. Encourage them to walk through the escape routes as you draw up the plan. Give everyone a job to do in the planning. It will make it a family experience and encourage everyone to take ownership and responsibility in the escape planning.

Infants, elder and disabled family members may need special consideration. Assign someone to assist these family members in case of a fire.

It’s the middle of the night. You are sound asleep when suddenly a loud noise jars you from your slumber. You jump out of bed, dazed and confused. After a few seconds you realize the smoke detector is in alarm. Do you know what to do next? Unfortunately many people don’t. According to the National Fire Protection Association, only one in four people have developed and practiced a fire escape plan. If a fire does break out in your home, a thought out and rehearsed escape plan can save your life.

Begin your escape plan by walking through your house; look for two ways to exit each room and make sure all escape routes are free of obstacles. In the event of a fire, visibility may be limited or non-existent, so keep pathways clear. If you have security bars on your windows, check to see if the release lever is accessible and the windows and bars open easily.

If you have young children, get them involved in the planning. Encourage them to walk through the escape routes as you draw up the plan. Give everyone a job to do in the planning. It will make it a family experience and encourage everyone to take ownership and responsibility in the escape planning.

Infants, elder and disabled family members may need special consideration. Assign someone to assist these family members in case of a fire.

Once you have created your escape route, select a meeting place outside, away from the home. It could be a tree or a lamppost or a mailbox. It doesn’t matter what you use for a meeting place, but it’s imperative everyone understand they must get out, go to the meeting place and wait. Only when you have made it to the meeting place should you attempt to call for help.

One of the most important things to stress to all family members is to never go back into your home when it’s on fire. It’s hard to wait for the fire fighters if you feel a loved one or family pet may be in danger, but going back in puts everyone in danger. Fire fighters are trained and have specialized equipment to rescue and bring people out alive. No matter what, remain outside and wait for all family members at the designated meeting spot.

You’ve created a plan, found 2 ways out of every room, and assigned a meeting spot, but you are not quite done. Now you must put the plan into action. In the middle of a crisis you won’t have time to figure out what to do, you will only have time to react. The more you practice your fire escape plan, the more natural and automatic it will become in the event of a real fire.

You should practice fire drills at least twice a year, at different times of the day or night. If you have guests or your children have friends spending the night, take a few minutes and go over the escape routes with them.

ire escape planning doesn’t take that much time and it can mean the difference between life and death in a fire situation. Be prepared and stay alive. Create your fire escape plan today. Incorporate the plan at the start of constructing a house. That is why some authorities recommend it being involved in the house plan in the first place.