Plan Two Ways Out
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20 Days to Ready: Plan Two Ways Out (Day 16)

20 Days to Ready is a series of simple, daily tasks to help you better prepare for emergencies and protect your family when disaster strikes. Follow along, day by day, and you’ll be more ready (for just about anything) in a few short weeks.

ASSIGNMENT: Make a Home Escape Plan

Fire can spread rapidly through a home, leaving you as little as two minutes to escape safely after the alarm sounds, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). That’s why it’s important to plan your escape, and practice that plan with the whole family.

To make your plan as effective as possible, the NFPA recommends that you:

  • Walk through each room in your home, and identify two ways out of each room (windows, doors, etc.); be sure to test windows and doors to make sure they open easily.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home, marking each escape path, and share the plan with the family.
  • Assign a family member to help anyone in your house who needs assistance getting out (babies, individuals with special needs, etc.).
  • Consider buying escape ladders if you live in a two-story home  but only use them in an emergency, and following safety precautions. (The U.S. Fire Administration says to make sure you buy a ladder that has been evaluated by a recognized testing lab.)
  • Consider installing emergency release devices if any doors or windows have security bars over them.
  • Determine a safe place outside  a safe distance from the house itself  to meet once you’ve evacuated.

Practice your home escape plan now, and then again every six months; try to make it as realistic as possible. Waking up your kids for a nighttime drill can be especially effective at preparing them for an unexpected alarm, the NFPA says, but you may want to tell them about the drill before bedtime so they aren’t scared.

Click here to follow along with more “20 Days to Ready” emergency preparedness tasks.

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