by Brett Rose, Safety Manager, J. Daniel and Company (and retired Firefighter)
With October being Fire Prevention Month, it is a good opportunity to talk about designing and performing E.D.I.T.H an Exit Drill In The Home. The ability to design your plan to fit the layout of your home will provide the best escape routes for your family.
Every home should have this life-saving device inside the home and they should be located on each floor placed outside the bedroom doors, in the stairways coming up from the basement and from the first floor to the second, and so on. The batteries should be changed twice a year, and some would say the best time to do this is when we all change the time on our clocks for daylight savings time.
Smoke detectors have a distinct sound, and every family member should be made aware of the actual sound that your smoke detector makes. If you do not know the sound it makes, there could be confusion at a time when we should try to remain calm.
The plan must start with knowing how to exit the home safely. Exiting the home can be tricky when the exit paths are filling up with smoke.The best way to stay safe exiting through a room or hallway filled with smoke is to crawl and stay as low as you can to the floor.This is where the coolest and freshest air is located since heat and smoke rise to the upper levels of the room or area.
Once the alarm sounds within your home roll out of bed and stay low to the floor and crawl to the bedroom door. The door must be closed feel the door with the back of your hand, if hot do not open it, stuff a blanket under the bottom of the door and crawl to the window and open it to escape. If your room is on the second floor remain there and hang something out of the window like a blanket or bed sheet this will provide the rescuers a noticeable sign that someone is in that room. If the door is cold then open slowly and crawl out of the residence following the dedicated path that was designed in your plan.
Once outside of the residence set a meeting point for everyone to assemble, stating that no one is to leave that meeting point, do not go back inside for any reason.
Please take the time to talk with your family allow for input from each of the members, just like putting together a JHA we survive when we work together as a team.