In case of a fire: 6 tips for saving your family and your memories

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Lil J was so excited to come home and share what she learned during fire safety week at her preschool. She goes through an entire performance it’s so adorable.

Lately I’ve been thinking what we’d do if there really was a fire in our home. As much as I pray that never happens, it’s smart to have a plan in place in case it does. Here are some things you can do to make a good fire escape plan.

1. Draw a floor plan of your home, and an escape path.

Planning a family fire escape

If you do this with your kids it’ll help them understand where to go in case of a fire. I printed off a floor plan of our house, then Lil’ J and I traced it and talked about where to go if the fire alarm went off. There are two exits for each room, the window, and door.

The Allstate Information Team says we should create multiple escape route plans so that if one exit is blocked, you and your family can easily adjust to locate another in a time of emergency. We cut out starts and flames to change around and talk about where to go in each instance. It was kind of a fun game.

2. Pick a family meeting spot

I can’t imagine leaving my house without knowing my kids are out first. So if my brilliant kids go straight out where they are suppose to, and I don’t see them in the house, we will meet in our meeting spot, which is (if you ask me, appropriately) right next to a fire hydrant.

Planning a family fire escape

3. Practice fire drills
Practice makes perfect. My daughter knows how to undo a deadbolt and we’re working on unlocking and opening windows.

Preserving Memories

When there is something tragic like a fire, you could lose everything, including some of your precious memories. Your safety is most important, and you should never go back into a burning house to try to save an item. You can replace a computer, but some of those memories you had stored on them may be priceless and irreplaceable. Here are some tips for backing your photos and videos up so you won’t have to lose those too.

1. Flickr
Free TB of photos, Videos. Every month I try to dump all of my images for the month into my private Flicker folders for that month. With a free TB of storage just for photos and videos, I’ll likely never run out of space. And if several years down the road I ever do, I can just create another account.

Planning a family fire escape

2. Google Plus and/or YouTube
You probably only thought of YouTube as a place to share videos. While that is the site’s main purpose, I also sometimes upload my cellphone videos here in addition to Flickr or Google Plus and set it to private to have an extra place to pull them from in case of an emergency. Unlimited uploads and no limit on how long the video can be (whereas Flickr has a 3 minute limit, and Google Drive will eventually charge you for storage). While it’s not as intuitive on how to get your videos back off of YouTube, it is possible.

3. External Hard Drive & Fireproof Safe

Planning a family fire escape

I have a rotating batch of external hard drives that I keep backups of my computers on. I try to keep at least one of them in our fireproof safe, so that if there’s a fire, and I lose my computer and everything on it, I still have a recent backup to fall back on. External drives are so inexpensive these days, you can get one and do a monthly backup that you keep in the safe.

I’m hoping I never have to put all of this planning to use in a real fire, but being prepared will help protect our most precious people and memories just in case. For more ways to better prepare you and your family check out 20 Days to Ready. It’s a series of simple, daily tasks to help you better prepare for emergencies and protect your family when disaster strikes.

Planning a family fire escape

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.

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  1. Such an important topic, and it’s probably time to revisit with my kids again. Our meeting place is at our neighbor’s mailbox. It’s far enough from the home, but close enough that it’s just across the way. I wonder if a fire hydrant is a good meeting place in case that fire trucks are already engaged and it would have the kids in the way (or maybe not, since it would be before they got there?).

    I love the idea of making a floor plan. I will definitely be using that for us.

    1. Thanks Nicole! I was going back and forth on that too. I think I went with this (for now) because they won’t have to go too far, and if the fire truck is already there, they’ll be lead right to help as well. My daughter loved making the floorplan. Thanks for excusing my artistic abilities (or lack thereof rather).

  2. This is such a great reminder. I think I am going to go over our plan with my kids again today 🙂

  3. These are really great tips! We have a family meeting spot picked out, but I love the idea of having a blueprint to show the kids the best ways out of the house depending on where the fire is!

  4. My sister and her kids just moved into their first house so I’m sending her this post. I’m sure it will be so helpful for them to consider all these things. – Katy

  5. The biggest thing we taught our kids about fires was to get themselves out without worrying about anything else. We had family members die in a fire before I was born, and it really shook our family.

  6. Fire Safety Tips are important because there are actually more fires than break-ins. I agree with creating a Family Floor plan as everyone will know where to go

  7. Brilliant to have the meeting place in front of a fire hydrant (and awwwww to that picture!!). Our meeting spot is at the policeman’s house next door. We’ve okay’d it with their family and we do a fire drill once a year to remind the kids.

  8. Excellent tips! This is so important to have a plan in place and practice it with your little ones so they know what to do (and won’t panic) in the event of a real emergency. Well done!

  9. I definitely need to upload my photos to Flickr. I have so many memory cards floating around here. Honestly, I never thought about what would happen to them if we had a fire or some natural disaster that destroyed our place. Will also be checking out some fireproof safes as well.

  10. Thanks for the tips. I’m currently researching this very topic for my website and I couldn’t help but notice your mention of a home safe. Do you know if my insurance company will provide a discount if I store my valuables in a home safe?

  11. Having a plan is good so that when you have a fire your child knows what they are going to need to do to get out. Teach them that when they hear the fire alarm go off that they need to prepare to get out encase of an actual fire. When that alarm goes off, locating the fire can be good to. This way you don’t accidentally get cut off from your exit with it.

  12. These are some really great tips for any parent. I know a lot of people assume that they know what to do in an emergency like a fire, but unless you have a concrete plan that you have exercised and reviewed, you or your family likely don’t. I also really liked your tips about saving memories with things like cloud storage or fireproof safes. That’s something I hadn’t ever considered. Thanks so much for writing!

  13. I think it is easy to overlook fire safety. I really like the idea of having a meeting spot in case of a fire. Even if it just outside your home or across the street it will remind the kids to get out of the house.

  14. The part of the article that I was able to relate to the most was when you said that having a floor or escape plan was good because it will help the kids understand where they need to go in an event of a fire. That was something that we were able to do because we did have a house plan back then. However, I still feel that we got lucky and escaped with our lives and our house intact. That’s why I plan on having a fire alarm system installed in our home. Thank you for sharing. Hopefully, it helps others as well.

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