Fire Escape Plans are critical to saving your family in the event of a fire taking hold in your home. House fires are frightening, and having to escape your house can be more terrifying than it needs to be, especially if your kids haven’t practiced the plan in advance. We recommend teaching them your house escape plan in advance, so in the event of a house fire, they know how to get out of the house instead of staying put and you can be confident in their ability to get out if the worst occurs.
NZ House Fire Escape Planning Tool
The New Zealand Fire Service has an excellent Fire Escape Planning tool that is designed to help you create and highlight the escape routes in your home in the event of a fire. You can then print your personalised Home Escape Plan out for the whole family to use. TIP: Stick it on the fridge for a week so everyone gets familiar with it!
The Waterman’s Fire Escape Plan
Here is an example of the Waterman’s house. They have two children, Georgia and Jack. They know that it’s more likely a fire will start in the kitchen or family room so their escape plan has the children heading away from that area. The Waterman’s also want to make the escape as short as possible for their children and to make sure they are already heading towards them if the children identify a fire before them.
When the Waterman family practiced their escape, they also showed Georgia and Jack how to escape from their window and onto the grass if they couldn’t escape via the hallway. There is a big walnut tree out the front of the Waterman’s house and that’s the meeting place. One big rule for everyone is that they will all meet there first before trying to find where their cat Midnight is.
How to use the House Fire Escape Planning Tool
It’s a five minute job to create using the Fire Escape Planning Tool, simply follow these four steps.
- Draw your house in blue.
- Escape plan in red.
- Add furniture emoji to identify each room.
- Add window and door emoji’s to identify escape points.
Where do New Zealand House Fires Start?
Kitchens, bedrooms and family rooms make up over half of the sources of house fires according to the New Zealand Fire Service. It is highly recommended to install photoelectric smoke alarms in your family room and each bedroom, the alarms in these areas will provide the earliest detection and enable your family to escape your home. Old style ionisation alarms use a less effective technology so ensure you installed photoelectric smoke alarms.
Let Your Children Create The Family Escape Plan
Letting your children contribute to the creation of your fire escape plan can be a fun activity for a rainy day, and helps them take ownership of this important responsibility. If you’d like your children to help create the family escape plan you can make your own using this cool Fire Escape Plan Drawing Guide that the NZ Fire Service has created. There’s all the furniture, arrows and escape doors and window emoji you’ll need to make if both fun and educational! This also helps children use reasoning skills as to why various escape routes are likely to be safer than others.
Once You’ve Escaped, Stay Out.
Escaping with your lives is the only priority. Don’t give in to the temptation as fires can be well established in less than a minute, be uncontrollable in 2 minutes and have engulfed your entire home in just 5 minutes. Fire is so fast so once you’re out, make sure you stay out no matter what. Watch how frighteningly quick this fire takes hold in the first 60 seconds. Every second counts.