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Berkshire residents urged to keep escape routes clear this May.

This May, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to be mindful of any clutter in their homes that may be blocking escape routes.

It’s vital that everyone in a property knows how to get out, stay out, and call 999 in the event of a fire.

In addition, working smoke alarms can save lives by giving people the early warning they need to get out of their home in a fire. But blocked exits, locked doors or unfamiliar surroundings can make escape dangerously difficult.

When it comes to escape, there are some simple steps that, if followed, will give you a better chance of survival in an emergency:

  • Think about how you will get out in an emergency. Making and practising an escape plan will help ensure that everyone can get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Fit at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home so smoke can reach the alarms quicker, giving you more warning time.
  • Test your smoke alarms at least monthly. Smoke alarms can save your life, but only if they work. Remember to #presstotest.
  • Clear your escape routes. Make sure you’re able to escape without tripping over, to ensure a speedy exit.
  • Keep your door and window keys in a known and accessible place. Make sure everyone knows where they are kept, so they can reach them easily and get out quicker in case of an emergency.

If you are caring for others, consider the following:

  • How will the person you are caring for get out? Plan an escape route that suits them and think of any difficulties they may have or assistance they may need in getting out.
  • Where is the best place to go if they can’t escape the building? This is especially important if they have trouble moving around or can’t get downstairs on their own.

Gail Muirhead, Prevention Manager said:

“Just a few breaths of toxic smoke could leave you unconscious, so every second counts when escaping a fire. Having working smoke alarms and an escape plan could make all the difference in an emergency situation.

“If you are caring for others, be aware that it could take more time to get out, stay out and call 999. Make sure you’re always prepared, your exits are clear and everyone knows what to do during an emergency.”

To find out more information on escape routes, please visit our website on our Escape Plan page.