Tips on Planning a Home Escape Route

By Hannah Cheshire

We always think and hope that a house fire will never happen to us but they are more common than you think and can have devastating and possibly life changing effects. If a fire does occur, they can develop and get out of hand very quickly potentially giving us as little as 3 minutes to escape making it important to act fast! However, it can be very easy to panic. With this in mind, it is important to have a practised plan in place so that all members of the household would know what to do.   


How to make a plan:

  • Draw a diagram of your house (it doesn’t have to be fancy) so that you can mark the escape routes clearly
  • Take into account the needs of everyone in the household. Young children and elderly family members may not be mobile, children may not wake up if the alarm goes off at night, consider who will help them and assign roles
  • The best escape route is usually your normal way in and out of the home
  • Plan a second escape route in case the first one is blocked
  • Choose a meeting spot outside, ideally in front of the house so that the emergency services can see you when they arrive and you know who is out
  • Practise your escape routes so that everyone knows what to do
  • Review your plan if the layout of the home changes


Things to consider:

  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home
  • Don’t lock doors to stairways
  • Close internal doors at nights as these can help prevent the spread of fire
  • Escape routes should open easily. Keep keys to windows and doors where everyone can find them
  • Count how many doors you need to go through to reach the stairs. It’s easy to get confused in smoke
  • Keep exits clear
  • Don’t keep things such as boxes in corridors or stairways as they can easily catch fire and obstruct your exit
  • It can be difficult to see due to darkness or smoke so it might be handy to have an easily accessible torch
  • Keep low under smoke, the air will be clearer
  • Put your address by the phone so that children can read it out to the emergency services if need be


If your escape route is blocked:

  • If you cant get out get everyone into one room, ideally with a window and a phone
  • Put bedding or a towel around the bottom of the door to block out smoke, open a window and shout for help
  • If you cannot open a window break the glass in the bottom corner. Make jagged edges safe with a towel or blanket
  • Don’t jump out of windows, you could seriously hurt yourself. Use bedding to cushion your fall and lower yourself down carefully. If there are two adults and a child, lower one adult first so the child can be lowered safely.


Important points to remember:

  • Don’t try to investigate
  • Don’t try to rescue belongings – they are just things!
  • If a door is warm to touch, chances are there is a fire on the other side
  • If your clothes catch fire remember – Stop, Drop and Roll.
  • Once you are out of the house do not go back in! You are not trained to do so, fire fighters are

Hannah Cheshire | Head of Marketing

Favourite superhero: Wolverine

Favourite sport: Ice hockey

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