Last week, we went over some tips on how to protect your family from experiencing a house fire due to heating systems, space heaters, and fireplaces. Unfortunately, house fires do happen and can be absolutely devastating. This week, we want to give you a list of things you should do in the event that a house fire was to occur. A house fire can be deadly, so it is important for you and your family to be prepared.
1. Like we talked about last week, having working smoke alarms throughout your home is VITAL to ensuring early detection of a fire. Without smoke alarms, your home could become consumed in flames before you know it. If it were to happen during the night while you were sleeping, smoke could overcome you without even waking you up. So always, always, always, make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside of bedrooms, and equipped with working batteries.
2. If your house is on fire (one that cannot be extinguished by you and a portable fire extinguisher) you must get out of your home immediately. If you have a cell phone nearby, you can grab it on your way out to call 911. If not, wait to use a neighbor’s phone to call the fire department. Do not waste time in your home collecting items. Get everyone out as soon as possible. The less smoke and chemicals inhaled, the better off everyone will be.
3. When you are escaping a house fire, always check doors before you open them. Use the back of your hand to feel for heat. Do not use the palm of your hand to check for heat. If the palm of your hand is burned it could impair your ability to climb a ladder or escape through a window if need be.
4. If you are forced to exit through smoke, get as low as you can. Crawl under the smoke with your head about a foot or two off the ground.
5. If your clothing catches on fire during the exit, STOP DROP and ROLL. Running will only ignite the fire even more. You will need to get on the ground and roll until the fire is extinguished.
6. If you cannot get out of your home because all exits are blocked off by fire, get into a room that is not on fire, open the window and hang a sheet out of the window so that the fire rescue team will see you. They will check for trapped persons as soon as they arrive. Hanging the sheet out of the window will allow for them to find you quickly.
It is always a good idea to have an escape route prepared and practiced, especially if you have young children. This will minimize the time that you are in the home during a fire. We hope that no one in our community ever has to go through an event such as a house fire, but if so, remember these valuable tips. They could save your life.