Today many families enjoy a two story home for more space on a smaller lot especially given the consistent rise in real estate prices for the past 10 years. Multistory buildings are a fantastic way to get more home for your money on a land parcel in the city suburbs. One thing many homeowners overlook is having proper safety equipment such as a fire escape ladder on the second floor.
Escape ladders are not the only item that gets forgotten when it comes to second floor safety. It is good to have an emergency preparedness kit on every floor of a home in case an emergency cuts off access to a particular area of the house. What happens when a fire breaks out but the fire is blocking the path to the fire extinguisher, emergency lights and escape ladder? More often than not it leads to injury or death that could have been prevented with proper planning. Break out a pen and paper to write down what you are missing in your emergency preparedness plan.
First you want to ensure there are fire escape ladders, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms in every room people sleep. All of these items should also be on every floor of a multistory building also except for an escape ladder on the first floor. Which is still a good idea for a backup ladder in case of an emergency. Also remember to check and test each item at least once a year but it is recommended you test twice a year. A good time to do this is when you change the time for daylight savings time in the spring and fall or during spring and fall cleaning.
Countless lives have been saved by having a fire escape ladder in an upstairs room when a fire breaks out in the middle of the night. Usually during a fire certain areas cannot be accessed because of the danger from fire & smoke; if the emergency equipment is behind a blocked area then escape can become daunting if not impossible. Families with young children are even more susceptible since most young children will not jump from a window that is more than a few feet off the ground; much less one that is twelve feet high. A fire extinguisher is just as important since you may need to put out a certain area of flames just to buy time to get out. It is unlikely you will be able to save your home with a fire extinguisher once the fire is a large blaze but at least you can get out safe.
It is also a good idea to show everyone in the family how to use the escape ladder and extinguisher once a year. You forget how to do things when you have not done them in a while and this is magnified during an emergency when people usually panic. Practicing once a year lowering the fire escape ladder & going down it is a great way to bring some calm should an emergency arise. It is best to just demonstrate how to use a fire extinguisher without actually using it since they can be expensive to replace and a mess to clean up.
Family emergency preparedness is a simple concept that can be fully utilized with just 30 minutes a year. Make a checklist of the rooms and what should be in each room, test each item and verify it is working every 6 months. Get the family together every year to go over the escape plan and remind everyone where the emergency equipment is located and how to operate. Following these simple steps will keep your family calm during an emergency and result in a safer escape should the time ever arise.