Monday, February 23, 2009

The fire drill you fail to do could cost you!!


When it comes to fire drills we all did them during our formative years at school, but most people have never instituted a family fire drill. It is something that is reasonably important, yet time is never made to put it in place. A fire drill never planned and left to chance is a disaster waiting to happen. It can not be assumed that everyone in the home will immediately awake when the fire alarm sounds. It can’t be taken for granted that all the occupants will know where to meet. Assuming that no one will reenter the burning structure is also wishful if they have not been taught and drilled not to go back inside. How to exit the home is also important. Who will call the fire department is vital, along with the whether or not you should attempt to fight the fire or not.
Performing a fire drill is relatively simple. First assemble all occupants of the residence. Draw out a sketch of the property, highlighting the exits. Assign someone to check all smoke detectors to make sure they have new batteries and are working properly. Make sure that each level has a smoke detector. Have an individual check to make sure that all exits are clear from obstruction. It is important that there are no boxes or other items blocking the exit path. Instruct occupants to sleep with the door closed. If they hear the sound of a fire alarm, get up and feel the door to check if it is hot. If it is hot then do not open it. It is important to have a ladder rope so a trapped occupant can exit through the window. If the door is not hot, then open the door and duck walk to the nearest exit. The purpose of the duck walk is due to the fact that dangerous smoke rises, and if you are tall and stand straight up you will inhale more toxic smoke which will render you unconscious. Do not attempt to crawl, because heavy toxins from burning carpets and rugs could impair you. Small child or adults below 4’ 6” should stand straight up. Once outside, everyone should assemble in the front of the home. This is where the fire department will arrive.
No one should reenter the home until the fire department clears you to go back inside. When performing the fire drill, have a person assigned with a whistle to perform the drill at anytime during the next week. When the whistle is blown everyone should drop what they are doing and proceed to the nearest exit and meet in the front of the residence. The person assigned with the whistle should also time how long it takes to exit. Periodically executing fire drills at different times, including at night, will add true value because it will more closely simulate real conditions. If there are children or teenagers that reside in the residence, it is important to note that studies have concluded that children often do not wake from the sound of conventional smoke detectors. Smoke detectors that alert by calling out the persons name have been proven to get better results. A fire detection system tied to a monitored home security system with two-way voice will perform this function and alert the fire department. This type of system is also useful in aiding elderly residents that may have limited mobility and medical conditions.
Another important item overlooked when planning for a fire, especially with renters is fire insurance. Renters insurance is very inexpensive. When renting the items placed inside the structure you are renting are not covered by the owners insurance. This is a fact not known by most people. Two great companies to call nationwide are Liberty Mutual and State Farm. Quality agents to call in North Carolina are Lydia Matthews and Pam Herndon. Their respective contact information is (919) 401-1550 ext 56562, Lydia.matthews@libertymutual.com for Lydia Matthews and (919) 240-0155, pam@pamherndon.com for Pam Herndon. For more information on fire drills and how to obtain monitored fire protection click, http://www.whensafetymatters.com or call (919)949-9690. Monitored fire devices will result in reduced insurance rates for homeowners having these devices installed.

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