Fire! Be prepared to escape a burning home...

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Fire! Be prepared to escape a burning home...

 Fires in American homes are more prevalent than most people realize. The U.S. Fire Administration says a home fire is reported to a fire department once every minute. And, sadly, on average 2,600 people lose their lives and 13,000 are injured in home fires each year.

When a fire occurs, only one thing matters-getting everyone safely out. To make sure that happens, there are several things you can do now and they're all summed up by the Boy Scout motto: "Be prepared."

Your early warning system
You want to know something's burning before you see flames dancing at your feet. Smoke detectors are the best early warning systems we have and they're relatively inexpensive and easy to install. At minimum, put one detector in a central location on each floor. Ideally, put one outside the door of each room where people sleep. Then be sure to change the batteries every year-pick a date to do it and mark it on your calendar.

Your escape plan
Figure out the escape routes from every room in the house. Involve the whole family, making sure they're aware of all the issues...

· First, exit right away

A note about escape ladders.
When escaping a fire through a window, you need a ladder above the ground floor. Every upstairs sleeping room should have an escape ladder and each family member should know how to use it.

· The basic escape ladder

, which costs the least, requires you to open the window, hook it over the sill, drop the rungs and climb down to safety. Unfortunately, this type of ladder often gets put away where it's hard to find in a fire. And some are single-use rated, so you can't practice on them.

· For these reasons, more and more people are opting for a permanently installed escape ladder, which costs a little more. It goes under the escape window in a can in the wall, so it's hardly noticeable, but there if you need it. And it's reusable, so everyone can practice opening, deploying and going down it. You just cut a hole in the drywall and bolt in the can between two 16-inch on center studs. Over it all goes a door that can be papered or painted to match the room.

Smoke detectors and escape ladders are available at hardware stores, home centers and online. Look into them now, talk to your family about escape routes and a meeting place and sleep better tonight!

Please feel free to call or email us about any matters, particularly those relating to home financing or refinancing. We're always glad to talk.... Have a great day!

People, not possessions, are important. If you're alerted to a fire, stop what you're doing and get out. Don't take time to grab belongings or call 911. You can do that from a cell phone outside or from a neighbor's house.

· Don't expect to use the door

In a fire you may not be able to leave through the door. That's why you need two ways to escape from every room. If there are two doors, practice escaping through each of them. If a door is closed, touch the surface or the knob with the back of your hand to see if it's hot. If cool, open it slowly and check for smoke. If heat and smoke start rushing in, close the door immediately and pick another exit. If there's just one door, you'll have to use a window, so see where each one takes you-onto the ground, over to a roof, onto a deck or down an escape ladder.

· Learn your routes.

Know how each emergency route out of the house goes. In the chaos of a fire, it's easy to get disoriented, particularly at night. Have all family members learn and practice the escape routes from each room, all the way to the outside.

· Pick a meeting place.

Agree on a precise, easy to find meeting place outside, where everyone can safely gather until all are accounted for. This could be in front of a neighbor's house, at the end of the driveway or at some other location. A meeting place lets you quickly know who is safe and avoids needlessly risking injury by going back into the house looking for someone who's already out.


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Roger Davidson
DiSalle Real Estate Co. - Maumee, OH
Maumee, Ohio Real Estate

Very good tips, April.  Some people forget how important selcting a meeting place is.

Mar 24, 2011 05:33 AM #1
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April Diehl

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