With burglaries and home invasions becoming ever more violent and frequent, many homeowners go to the extreme to protect themselves, their families and their belongings. Did you know that some people have double cylinder deadbolts on the burglar bars on their bedroom windows? Our biggest concern here at Locksmith Toronto Ontario is the safety of our clients, and how they will escape a house fire when they are half asleep at night, fumbling for keys to operate a deadbolt.
Most states have building and fire codes that require that bedroom burglar bars have a quick-release mechanism to allow people to get out in the event of a fire, and a double cylinder deadbolt that requires a key does not fulfill those requirements. Instead, install retrofit windows with quick release security bars.
As with almost everything, prevention is better than cure, so devise a fire safety and escape plan long in advance using the tips below.
1. Install smoke, gas and flooding alarms in your home. Each bedroom should have a smoke alarm and sprinklers, and there should be more on each level of the home and in the kitchen.
2. Create an escape plan and make sure everyone in the home understands it. Be sure that the escape route is the safest, but know that you may have to escape through toxic smoth and heat. Check that all escape routes are clear and that windows and doors can easily be opened. Find ways to ensure all family members, including children, can escape for the upper floor rooms. Placing escape ladders in or near the windows can provide an additional escape route.
3. Designate a meeting place within safe distance of your home. It could be a neighbor’s house, a tree or another familiar place to which everyone can easily escape. Everyone will meet at that place once they have managed to escape and can then be accounted for.
4. Make sure that your street number is visible during the day and at night. Take the necessary steps to ensure that emergency personnel can easily find your home in case of a fire.
5. Ensure that everyone in your household knows all the relevant emergency phone numbers so that they can call the fire department, police and ambulance in the event of a fire.
6. If there are older adults, infants or anyone else with mobility limitations, provisions should be made in the plan to assist them both in the fire drills and in an emergency. You should also assign a backup person, should the designated individual be unavailable or incapacitated. Likewise, it is important to ensure that someone can wake up children and any other heavy sleepers in the event of a smoke alarm.
7. Prepare for the unlikely event in which you’re unable to escape. Your best bet would be to seal yourself on for safety. This is done by closing all doors separating you from the fire using duct tape to seal the cracks of the door and the air vents. You could open the top and bottom windows to allow fresh air in.
Ultimately, the right locks are crucial to your ability to escape a house fire. Speak to Locksmith Toronto Ontario about the best options.