Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Plan your escape

Take the time to make an escape plan so you know how you and your family will get out in the event of a fire, that is the advice from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

When fire strikes every second counts and planning an escape route could mean the difference between getting out safely and possible tragedy.

That is why we recommend that everyone makes an escape plan and tries to keep it as simple as possible. No one know your home better than you so take the time to plan your quickest exit now so you don’t have to think when the worst happens, just act and get everyone out to safety.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick said: “When there is a fire in the home our advice is get out, stay out and call the fire service out. Making sure that you know your way out and that the escape route is kept clear of clutter could be the difference between life and death.”

The first element of any escape plan is fitting and regularly testing smoke alarms. They will sound at the first sign of fire letting you know that it’s time to put you plan in action and make your way outside.

But blocked exit, locked door, missing key or cluttered escape route can often shave vital seconds off an escape route and could make the difference between getting out unhurt or suffering exposure to the potentially fatal dangers of toxic smoke.

Here are some simple steps which will help you make sure that you will be warned at the first sign of danger and that you have a clear escape plan to make sure you and your family are safely out of the house before you dial 999:

- Fit a smoke alarm on each level of your home and test them regularly.

- Prepare an escape route, make sure everyone knows it and practice your escape.

- Keep your escape route clear so there are no obstacles to slow you down.

- Make sure everyone in the house – including friends and family who may stay over – knows where all keys to doors and windows are kept.

DO Fenwick said: “A bit of care and planning now can mean everything when disaster strikes. Knowing an escape plan, keeping it simple and making sure that escape routes are kept clear and keys are kept handy is vitally important.

“Just a few minutes now spent planning your escape route and sharing it with your family could be the most valuable time you have ever spent.”

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