Houdini was the master of escape as no straight jacket, cell, chain or padlock could keep him trapped for very long. However, most of us haven’t mastered the skills of Houdini and look and listen as we are made aware before takeoff the location of emergency exits, just in case. Experts will tell you that you should always have at least two ways out in the event of an evacuation and that includes leaving your home quickly in the event of an emergency like a fire.
I live in a one-story house so if I’m in the bedroom and have to evacuate the building I have at least four easy ways out of the house. The front door, a sliding glass back door, garage door, and the bedroom window. As soon as I am out of the house and headed to the predesignated meeting area, I’m dialing 911 to report the emergency. The meeting area is critical so you know everyone got out of the house. It is the same thing companies do when they have to evacuate and may refer to the meeting area as the assembly area. Either way, you want to do a head count so when the firefighters arrive they know if it’s a search and rescue or just fight the fire.
In a two-story house, escape is a little more challenging. If you are in a bedroom upstairs to exit the house you would need to come down to the ground floor using a staircase. Not all homes have a front and back staircase to give you more than one way out so what happens if the stairs or both are blocked by flames? Then you need to go out of the bedroom window as fast as possible. That’s why an escape ladder is critical. They can range in price from $35 to $100 depending on materials and manufacturer ask your insurance agent or local fire department for recommendations. It’s like insurance, you lay the money out to buy it for that peace of mind and hope you never have to use it.
Don’t wait until an emergency to see if everyone can use the ladder. It is highly recommended that you practice together at least once a year so everyone who may have to use the escape ladder is familiar and capable with it. In fact, keep everyone on their toes and have an unannounced drill. Whoever makes it to the meeting area gets pizza. Also don’t forget to include plans to get the very young, disabled, the elderly, and pets out as fast and safely as possible.
The best way to avoid having to evacuate in the first place is to practice good fire prevention practices in and around the home and then you won’t have to do a Houdini and escape. If you have questions about fire safety or other safety issues in the home or workplace check out our blog archives for more articles or feel free contact us, we’re here to help.