It is important that everyone know two ways out of the house. It is more important to have a plan on how you can help everyone be safe. Until about age ten, children will often need help during such a scary and stressful event as a fire. Plans need to be made to protect those who may not wake to the alarm or who cannot get out on their own.
1. When you hear the sound of the alarm, stop what you are doing and walk outside,
2. Know two ways out of every room,
3. Get outside quickly, and
4. Wait at your Outside Meeting Place.
A good meeting place is in front of the home, a little distance from the building. Sidewalks, trees, and mailboxes are common Outside Meeting Places. Have only ONE Outside Meeting Place that everyone can find. If you exit far from the meeting place, walk until you reach the meeting place.
If you are unable to get outside, stay away from the smoke and heat. Find a place with as many closed doors and walls between you and the fire. Once you have found a room without smoke or heat, close the door and always keep it closed. Call 9-1-1 if you can. Signal from a closed window if you can. Fire fighters will search the inside of every room when they arrive and move you to safety.
Fire is so fast we no longer teach the steps of staying low under the smoke or feeling the door. They are still good things to do but they don't work every time. A warm door indicates danger but opening a cool door can result death as the fire pulls oxygen out and pushes poisons in. The heat of the smoke forces most people to the floor. Near flashover, the flooring produces poisons. The process of feeling the door can make learning how to escape complicated. It is better to focus on preventing fires; install fire sprinklers; have interconnected, working smoke alarms; be able to make a quick escape; have a meeting place; and know how to create a safe place inside to wait for help.