If Your House is on Fire, Which of These should You Do First?
- Call 911, Wait for Help to Arrive
- Grab the Fire Extinguisher
- Start Evacuation Plan & Get Out
- Get Your Valuables & Leave
Answer: Start Evacuation Plan & Get Out
House fires are more common than you think. We live and cook around many sources of ignition and it doesn’t take much to go up in flames. Fires are especially dangerous because we don’t know how fast they will spread. When a fire starts spreading beyond your control, it can overtake a home in seconds once it reaches a volatile enough fuel source. Once a fire is out of your control, nothing is more important than getting the occupants to safety.
Follow these guidelines to stay safe and increase your chance of survival if you’re ever caught in a house fire scenario:
Stay Calm and Begin Evacuating:
Everyone in the family or office needs to know all the possible ways to get out of the house if a fire blocks the common passageways. Go over the escape routes and safe evacuation methods now before it’s too late.
React to Fire Alarm:
Smoke alarms have one purpose… to detect smoke. When you hear your smoke alarm go off, it’s basically signaling you to start your home evacuation plan (which every family member should know). If it’s nighttime, yell loudly so your family can hear you. Remember, you may only have seconds to evacuate so make it quick.
Don’t just open doors. Smoke coming from under a door means you shouldn’t try to exit that way. If you don’t see smoke, check doors using the back of your hand attempt to sense heat before opening the door. The intensity of the heat will let you know if it’s safe to open. If the door is hot and you see smoke, find another way to safely exit (Try the window). If stuck on upper floors, bed sheets can be tied together to make a rope in an emergency.
Protection Against Smoke Inhalation:
If the house is covered in smoke, you have to get low to ground, crouch or crawl on your hands and knees to help prevent suffocation. Do not try to run around. Smoke inhalation can cause you to become disoriented and even render a person unconscious. If you have to walk through a smoke-filled room, cover your nose and mouth (use a shirt or towel if possible).
If you become trapped in a room, try to use clothing, rags, towels, or even tape to seal the bottom of the door to prevent smoke from coming in. If you can, don’t forget to cover vents as well.
If You Catch On Fire:
Stop, drop, and roll if your clothes catch fire. Immediately stop what you’re doing, drop flat to the ground, and roll around until you put the fire out. Cover your face with your hands as you’re rolling to protect yourself.
House fires can be prevented by practicing safe behaviors. Teach your family that all fire is dangerous. Even a harmless-looking candle can catch a piece of clothing, blanket or towel that is nearby. Carelessness is usually why a fire starts in the first place. Whether it’s leaving cooking food unattended, smoking in the house, lighting candles in unsafe places or just a simple gas leak, you must always be aware of your surroundings when using fire. Stay safe and always prepare for the unknown!