Tips To Stay Safe During A House Fire
React when you hear your smoke alarm. If you hear your smoke detector or alarm going off, get out of bed, wrap yourself in a blanket if there’s one
handy and get the heck out of there! Shoes or slippers are a good idea if they are handy, but do not take the time to tie your shoes.
USE THE DOOR
If your door is open and there is a fire preventing you from exiting the room, close the door to protect yourself from the fire, and follow the “hot door” procedures below. Otherwise, treat it as a “cool door”.
FEEL FOR HEAT
If your door is closed, feel it for heat with the back of your hand.
STAY LOW TO THE GROUND
If you feel down towards the bottom of the door and it is really cool, that’s good. Open it slowly and take a look at the conditions on the other side. If there is a lot of smoke and it’s banked up towards the ceiling area, stay lower to the ground and crawl to get yourself out. If you are able to get out, also go through and yell for other people to get out of the house. Wake everyone up, get the kids out of bed, and get outside as quickly as you can.
KNOW A SECOND WAY OUT
If you feel the door and it is hot, there is a lot of heat on the other side. Do not open it; use a second way out. If there is no safe door, go over a the window and try to get out of the house that way.
HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN
Know what to do if your exit is blocked by fire. You should always have two means of exiting the building. If you cannot get out the front door, what are the secondary escape routes? Think about whether it is a window or a different door. You should always make an escape plan with your family.
HAVE AN ESCAPE LADDER
Escape from a second story window. If you have a two-story house, you should have an escape ladder that you can throw out in case a fire or other problem happens.
GET TO WHERE PEOPLE CAN SEE YOU
If you are trapped in your second story room in the event of a fire, do what you can to get yourself to an area where people will be able to hear you or see you. You can take a sheet or something else – white preferably – and hang it out the window to signify that you need help when the first responders get there. Be sure to close the window — leaving it open draws the fire towards the fresh oxygen. Put something down to prevent the smoke from coming underneath the door, such as a towel or anything that you can find.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SMOKE INHALATION
Take a t-shirt or a rag and wet it. Place it over your nose and mouth. This will only buy you a minute or so, which is not a lot of time, but it does help to filter those products of combustion which lead to smoke inhalation. Smoke inhalation causes people to become disoriented and can even render a person unconscious. Knowing this, you should cover your nose and mouth if you have to walk by or through a heavily smoke-filled room.
The most important rule, before all else, is to stay low! Hot smoke, be it toxic, scorching, or both, rises so keeping close to the floor can help you avoid inhaling or being burnt by smoke that might have already entered the room. If the room is clear of smoke then you may stand but be careful upon entering any new space to avoid the same danger.
HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN FOR EVERY ROOM
In a fire, it is often impossible to get from one part of a dwelling to another. Consequently, every member of the household MUST know how to get out of every room in the place even if the usual doors are inaccessible.
STOP, DROP, ROLL, COVER
If you are on fire “stop, drop, and roll AND cover your face”.
CHECK SMOKE DETECTORS
Make sure your smoke detectors work. A good way to remember is to change your batteries when you change your clocks for daylight savings (in areas that do that).
REPLACE SMOKE DETECTORS EVERY 5 YEARS
Make sure you test your smoke detectors regularly! They should be changed every 5 years. Don’t go back inside.
HAVE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
Have safety equipment maintained and in easily found locations, including fire extinguishers and safety ladders (and know how to use them). Have all extinguishers checked regularly (once a year is good) and replace if defective.
USE THE BACK OF YOUR HAND TO TEST HEAT
Feeling a door for heat: Use the back of your hand to feel a door for heat, not the palm or fingers. The back of your hand has more nerve endings than your palm, allowing you to accurately determine the temperature of an object without actually contacting it. Also, doors can get hot enough to burn you without appearing very hot at all. You may later need to use your palms or fingers to help you escape.