Creating Safe Exit Strategies
When an emergency happens at your home such as a fire, flood, tornado or any natural disaster, being able to find the exit and leave the structure could be a life-or-death achievement. Here are a few rules that could save a life:
- Replace batteries in all the smoke detectors in your home every year and replace the smoke detector units every 10 years.
- Keep hallways and exit paths clear of debris and furniture.
- Do not obstruct or block emergency escape windows or doorways.
- Make sure that no windows have been painted shut and that all locking devices are easy to use and in working condition.
- Make sure that all family members have been trained to use the locking devices for windows and doors.
- Be sure that window security bars properly release from the inside in the event of an emergency.
- Make sure that the electrical panel and gas shut-off valves are not blocked and easily accessible.
- Develop and practice an emergency escape plan.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, it takes less than 30 seconds for a small flame to burn completely out of control and turn into a major fire. Within minutes, a house can fill with thick, black smoke and become engulfed in flames. Building safety codes designate minimum window and hallway sizes to allow occupants to get out in the case of an emergency, and provide access for first responders to get in. Contact DeWitt Township Building Department at (517) 668-0278 or DeWitt Township Fire Department at (517) 669-0071 for more information.