5 ways to improve fire escape plans in your home

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It is important to have an escape plan in place. (Professional restoration pic)

You are always shocked and dismayed at cases of fire which result in fatalities. Cases in point are the recent Tahfiz school fire in Keramat that killed 23 people including students as young as 6 and 8.

Another recent case involved a fire which killed four members of a family in Subang Jaya. These unfortunate incidents highlight the importance of having a fire escape plan.

Here are some ways in which you can improve the fire escape plans in your home.

1. You must be able to open any grille easily

Many Malaysians install grilles on their windows and doors for safety purposes. This is understandable as they may face crime issues in their neighbourhood.

However, always ensure that the grilles can be easily opened and the key to each grill lock is clearly labelled and kept in a safe and easily accessible place, such as in your handbag or backpack.

Avoid having all your windows installed as push glass panels or stationary glass panels that can’t be opened. Windows that slide or swing open are the best.

2. Plan an escape route

Call a family meeting and plan an escape route with several contingency routes depending on where the fire starts.

Make sure everyone knows where the keys are kept. It’s best that each one has a set of these keys. Designate a gathering point outside your home where everyone can meet and be counted.

Every member of the family must be familiar with the fire escape plan. (Madison mutual insurance pic)

3. Install an escape ladder

Should the fire start on your ground floor, it may be impossible to escape through the front door. In instances like this, an escape ladder will be your life saver from the upper floors.

Usually these fire escape ladders are made of steel and can even be attached to a window. Ideally fire escape ladders should be installed near your bedroom.

Alternatively, you can keep a portable escape ladder in several places on the upper floor.

An escape ladder can save lives. (Home away pic)

4. Conduct fire drills

It may come across as silly, but having a family fire drill could potentially save your life. Tell your family that you’ll hold a fire drill some time this week, and give them the cue when everyone is home.

This way, you can see the flaws and weaknesses in your escape plan and improve on it.

5. Avoid automatic gates, doors and windows

In the event of a fire, the electricity supply in your home may be cut off. This means that any automatic or remote controlled windows and doors won’t work and therefore won’t open.

You may be trapped inside or be unable to get to the next exit. It’s always advisable to stick to conventional exit points for an easy escape that isn’t dependent on any electricity or alternate power source. All your windows, doors and gates should open manually.

Windows, doors and gates should open manually. (Tiltco pic)

Your attempts at crime-proofing your home can sometimes lead to compromising fire escape options.

It’s best to strike a balance and not go overboard in shutting yourself in a cage-like setting that will put you at risk during an actual fire.

This article first appeared in kaodim.com

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