Follow these steps to craft an exit strategy that gets your family out of the house as safely and quickly as possible.
1. Walk through your home together and identify all windows and doors. Find at least two exits in each room.
2. Store a collapsible escape ladder near a window in each upstairs room. Every family member should regularly practice setting up the ladder from a first-floor window to ensure he or she can do it.
3. Make sure all doors and windows can be opened easily and that all adults know how to operate the emergency release devices on window guards in upstairs rooms.
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4. Draw a floor plan of your home, marking all doors, windows, and stairwells. Use the diagram to show your children how to escape in case you aren’t able to help them.
5. Establish an outside meeting place, such as the mailbox, a light pole, or a neighbor’s porch.
6. If your family lives in an apartment or multi-unit building, review the building’s evacuation plan. Teach your children to always take the stairs if there’s a fire.
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7. Demonstrate how to stay low to the ground (by rolling or army crawling) when moving through smoke.
8. Make sure your kids know to never reenter a room or the house to find a person or a pet.