What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night hearing your smoke alarms going off?
You should already have, as a minimum, a smoke detection system in operation, positioned in the hallway and at first floor landing level. In an emergency they should both activate early enough to allow you to get out of the house safely.
But, what if the stairs are blocked by fire or more likely smoke? How would you then get out of the house? Some smoke is so toxic that it can only be inhaled for a matter of seconds before you are overcome and incapacitated.
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a fire, having a predetermined emergency evacuation plan could give you sufficient time to get to a place of safety.
You need to consider the mobility of the occupants; do you have young children; elderly relatives; people with disabilities? What would they do in an emergency?
Bedroom windows should be large enough so that you can clamber out and hang from the window ledge and then drop to the ground, or if necessary, jump to safety. It should be remembered that not all surfaces, (eg. conservatory roofs) are safe to drop onto. However, dropping onto a flat roofed extension could be ideal, as long as the source of the fire is not beneath the roof.
It is advisable to plan your escape route so that every member of the family knows what to do. You should also have an alternative plan should a fire be emanating from various parts of the property.
Hopefully, you will never need to put your evacuation plan into practice, but being prepared could give you time to get out and potentially save lives.
Further advice can be provided by your local Fire Brigade.