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Plan Your Exit Strategy

@fire-escape-ladderAnti-Panic Insurance

Maybe your family would know instantly what to do in a fire, but most people would panic.

Make a carful plan as a family and practice it frequently. It’s almost like anti-panic insurance. Fear may set in, but the plan will go into action and save your lives.

Plan Basics

Begin planning your safe escape by:

  • Drawing a floor plan of your house
  • Every room should have two possible exits (a door and a window)
  • Sketch in the shortest, safest way outside from any place in the home

For second story windows consider:

  • trees
  • garages
  • or other structures

that could either help someone exit or could get in the way.

Apartment Buildings

May have exit plans in the corridors showing how to get out of the building. Still, you need a play for your own apartment. Your safest exit may not be down the building corridor; it may be out a window.

Meeting Place

Choose a safe meeting place outside. Go there directly after exiting. Good choices include a neighbor’s mailbox or a street sign – anything that doesn’t move and is easy to recognize.

Make sure the exits you are counting on are easy to open. If you need the extra security of window bars, make sure yours are the quick-release, fire-safe type.

After making your plan – remember to make the changes to your house.

Special Considerations

  • Assign one parent to get a small child
  • An elderly or disabled person should have a phone in their room
  • Alert the fire department with a sign in the bedroom window of anyone who cannot exit alone
  • People with mobility problems should sleep on the ground floor

Practice the Plan

  • Practice the plan when everyone is home
  • Rule out some exits with “smoke” or  “flames” signs, so people must use backup exits
  • Sound the smoke alarm to start the drill
  • Try to escape safely in 3 to 5 minutes

Safe Escape Tips

  • About 75% of house fire deaths are caused by smoke, not by flames. You must crawl under smoke, with your head 12-24 inches above the floor
  • It takes 10-15 minutes to burn through a wooded door – sleep with doors shut
  • Use the back of your hand to touch the door, doorknob and hinges. If you feel heat, use your second exit; if you don’t, open the door slowly. If you see thick smoke or flames, slam the door shut and use another exit
  • If you are trapped, stuff clothing under the doors. Call the fire department to tell them your location. Wait at a window and signal with a flashlight or light-colored cloth

Contact Us


Main Receptionist
(804) 501-4900

[email protected]

Mailing Address
P. O. Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0775

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