YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Every two and a half hours, someone in the U.S. dies from a home fire.
Earlier this year, a Wellsville couple and 20 of their pets were killed in a fire when they couldn’t get out of their house. In April, a Beaver Township woman was also trapped in her home and died as a result of a house fire.
If a fire starts in your home, you might have as little as two minutes to get out safely. The American Red Cross says that is why having a fire escape plan is so important.
The Theodore family in Boardman has their own fire escape plan, and they practice it regularly.
While Dominic Theodore was in Cub Scouts and kindergarten, he learned about fire safety. He thought it was important to bring the lesson home to his parents, Brad and Amy, and sister Rosie.
“I thought that was important to do because it’s fire safety. Like I said, even if you’re a very protective family, there’s a risk that a fire could come,” he said.
Brad Theodore said they wanted to make sure Dominic knew what to do in case of a fire outside of his bedroom door.
Now, he knows to first check his door to make sure it isn’t hot outside.
“And then we talked about, well, once he’s outside, who is he going to find?” Brad Theodore said.
It’s a plan that the family said has changed often, and that’s why it’s so important to routinely review it.
Melissa Papini, disaster program manager for the American Red Cross, said practicing a fire escape plan could be the difference between life and death, should your home catch fire.
“Children drill at school all the time, but we rarely drill at home, and it’s something people need to take seriously,” she said.
When making a fire escape plan, draw out a sketch of your home’s floor plan. Make sure each family member knows how to get out, depending on where they are in the home. It’s important to have at least two escape routes.
Once you know how to get out of the house, you need to have a designated meeting place for every family member. That way, you aren’t separated, and you’ll know if anyone is still inside.
Papini recommends practicing that plan twice a year.
The Red Cross also recommends having a working smoke alarm on every level of your home.
For more information on planning a fire escape, go to the American Red Cross’s website.