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Do you have a fire plan?

Do you have a fire plan?
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Keep your family safe in the event of a housefire

A house fire is without a doubt one of the most terrifying of experiences. You can dramatically increase your chances of survival by having a plan in place. The fire service summarises the plan as ‘Get out, stay out, call 999’.

Plan as a family

A plan works best if everyone knows about it! Discussing the plan will help you see points that you yourself might miss. For example, an elderly relative might point out that she’s unable to manage your fire ladder; or a child will show you that he can’t reach the keys.

Talking about fire with children can be tricky because you don’t want to cause them undue alarm. Kent Fire and Rescue Service uses a cheery website about the Byrnes Family to teach children about safety. Take a look and see if it would help with your discussions. One important point to tell them is that they should not try to hide during a house fire: they need to get out of the house. Also, let them know what firefighters look like in full breathing apparatus.

Would you wake up if there was a house fire?

Firefighters report that many people believe they would be woken by a house fire. But unfortunately the poisonous fumes given off by burning domestic goods affect consciousness and can make house fire victims less likely to wake up. So ensure that you have smoke alarms on every level of your house. To make sure your smoke alarms are working you must test them regularly. The fire and rescue service has a Test it Tuesday campaign to help with this.

Examine your fire escape route

Walk through your escape route to make sure it is practical and fit for purpose. If the way is blocked by possessions, you need to declutter. And make sure that everyone knows where keys are and can operate locks.

What do you do once you escape from a house fire?

The first thing to do is to call 999 and ask for the fire brigade. If you don’t have a phone handy, shout for help. Teach your children how 999 works and encourage them to recite your address and postcode. Some rescue services use the app What3Words to help locate hard-to-find properties. Bear in mind that the dispatcher might not know the local area.

What if you can’t get out during a house fire?

Sometimes it may not be possible to exit safely during a house fire. Your plan should include a room where you can wait for help if leaving is not possible. Ideally this should be a room with a phone so you can summon help. Block the bases of doors with bedding to stop smoke getting in. Lean out of the window and keep drawing attention to yourself while you wait for help.

Plan ahead for peace of mind

We hope, of course, that you never have to use your house fire escape plan. But if stepping through your escape route has made you think that some of your possessions would be better off in storage, we’ve got some resources to help – for example, find out how much it is to rent a storage unit. And, of course, call on us for an insurance quote.