house fire safety

From the time a fire starts, you and your family may only have two minutes to escape safely. Planning ahead for fire safety can mean the difference between getting out and not making it. Talk with all household members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice per year.

Know that sixty percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms can reduce the chances of dying in a fire by almost fifty percent. Identifying and removing fire hazards from your home is also key to fire safety; this includes keeping heating elements a safe distance from flammable items such as drapes.

How to Respond if a Fire Breaks Out

  • If a house fire breaks out, immediately GET OUT(SIDE)*, STAY OUT and CALL 9-1-1.
  • *To get out, crawl or roll on the floor and never open doors or handles that are warm to the touch as fire could be on the other side. Crawling decreases your chance of smoke inhalation.
  • In a worst case scenario, if smoke, heat, or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. If possible place a wet towel under the door and call the 9-1-1. Open a window and use the opening to wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.

Fire Safety for Kids

In 2013, 334 children died in house fires, which are responsible for eighty-seven percent of all fire-related deaths. Around the world, 61,000 children died from a fire or burn in 2008 alone.

  • Teach young kids never to play with matches and lighters or to cook without adult supervision. Keep lighters and matches up and away from young children.
  • Create and practice a home fire escape plan with your family. There should be two ways out of every room in case of a fire. Use a timer to see how fast your family can escape. The kids will love it and it can really help to prepare them for a real emergency.
  • Children should know how to respond to the sound of a smoke alarm. Teach them to STOP, DROP down low and ROLL (or crawl) to nearest safe exit. Children who are familiar with fire safety drills are more likely to know what to do in the event of a real fire.

After a House Fire

  • Seek medical treatment for any injuries or possible smoke inhalation. To help prevent infection of small wounds, clean them with soap and water and cover with a sterile bandage. Bandages should be replaced if they become dirty, damaged, or soaked.
  • Remain as calm as you can; other family or community members may need your help. Listen carefully to what people are telling you and understand that you may need to focus on an urgent situation in a timely manner.
  • Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to re-enter.
  • If you are re-entering a fire damaged home wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, closed-toed rubber-soled shoes or boots, and work gloves to protect your skin. You should also wear a dust mask, safety goggles and/or a hard hat in case of falling beams.

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