Exit Drills In The Home (E.D.I.T.H)
One of the ways to keep your family safe is by practicing E.D.I.T.H. (Exit Drills In The Home). Many injuries are caused by people of all ages reacting improperly when there is a fire in their home. Fire escape planning can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a home fire. Most home fires occur at night when people are the least prepared. If you and your family have not practiced how to escape during an emergency, home fires can become a disaster. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home. Replace batteries at least twice a year. If bedroom doors are kept closed at night, a detector should be installed in each room.
How to Design Your Fire Escape Plan
To design your own fire escape plan, sketch the floor plan of your home on a piece of paper. Your plan should include all doors, windows and other areas from which you could escape from each room in your home. Draw arrows to indicate the normal exits which would be your primary escape route. With an alternate color, draw arrows to indicate a secondary exit from each room in the home. There should be two exits from each room which means one exit could be a window. You may need to purchase chain ladders which would enable your family to exit from a second story window without injury. Make sure to include your meeting place.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you have designed your plan, test it to make sure it works. Make sure to run through the drills on a regular basis or at least twice a year. Regular exit drills in the home will allow you to test the plan and make adjustments as needed. When practicing your exit drills in the home, remember to use alternate escape routes as well.
Make sure that your children know:
- To tell a grown-up if they see smoke or flames
- To get out of the house when they hear the smoke detector
- Two ways to exit each room
- To go to your "family meeting place"
- Never to go back into a burning building
Everyone should know the location of telephones in the home and where to find a telephone outside of the home (a neighbor’s house). It is very important that children also know the 911 phone number in order to report a fire or other emergencies to authorities.
People with physical or mental handicaps face greater risks during a fire emergency. People with special needs should sleep in a bedroom near someone who can help in the event of an emergency. A physically handicapped person may require a sleeping area on the ground floor. Design a special escape plan based on the abilities of the person.