DES MOINES, Iowa – Most people in Iowa know that smoke detector installation and testing is important, but according to a recent survey, most are likely mistaken about how much time is needed to safely evacuate a burning home. Research from the American Red Cross shows many people think they have five minutes, but it’s really only two.
Brandon Holstrom, preparedness and recovery manager for the Red Cross in Iowa, says that’s why it’s so important to have a plan. “And we’re looking for an escape plan that is actually practiced,” he stresses. “And most people don’t know that that escape plan needs to be an alternate route, such as windows, maybe the front door, maybe a side door that’s typically not used.”
According to the survey, nearly seven in 10 parents believe their children know what to do if their house catches on fire, but fewer than one in five families with children has actually practiced home fire drills.
Holstrom also explains that the escape plan should also include a place to meet and stay put, such as a nearby tree or the home of a neighbor. “Because that is also a concern that we have is that people re-enter the home after they’ve left it, maybe to get Fido, their favorite dog, or maybe it’s a memory of theirs, a wedding ring or something else,” he explains. “Once you’re out, stay out.”
It’s recommended that smoke detectors be installed in each bedroom and regularly tested. About 2,300 people died in house fires and 13,000 were injured in 2012, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
(Iowa News Service)