Working fire alarms are only part of the arsenal you need at your disposal to survive a house fire. While alarms will alert you to a fire, they will do nothing for you if you find that you're trapped in your room. In addition to establishing a solid evacuation plan with two avenues of escape from each room, you have to take steps to make sure that your evacuation goes as planned and that you do not become trapped. Unfortunately, more than 12,000 people are injured and another 2,500 die in house fires each year. Avoid becoming another statistic by making sure that nothing will prevent your escape during a fire.
A closed door will hold back a fire for approximately 15 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to open a window and crawl out. However, you have to be able to open a window to escape and many windows, especially those in older homes, are inoperable. If you have old, wooden windows that are hard to open, you should replace them with vinyl replacement windows immediately. You should also practice opening your windows, popping off the screens and opening any safety bars. During a fire, you won't have time to figure things out. You have to learn how to operate your windows automatically. If any part of your windows do not function properly, have them serviced.
Clutter, such as boxes, books, sports equipment and so forth, can block pathways, making it difficult or impossible to evacuate your home during a fire. What's more, flammable materials, such as paper, can add fuel to a fire, which will make the fire burn hotter and faster. Too much clutter can even make it difficult for rescue personnel to get to you and your loved ones. To prevent being trapped in your home by clutter, be sure to keep your home clean at all times. Find a place for all your items and make sure you keep them there when they're not in use.
Your windows provide some of the best evacuation routes out of your home. Therefore, it's vital that they remain in working condition at all times. It's also important for you to keep your home clutter free and avoid blocking escape routes with stuff. The next time you're practicing your fire safety drill, be sure to make your windows and your escape routes part of your plan. A good escape route will not save you if you can't use it because something is blocking your path or your windows won't open.
For more information on window replacements, contact a company like Morgan Exteriors Inc.