Home and Building Fire
A fire can engulf a
structure in a matter of minutes. Understanding the basic characteristics of
fire and learning the proper safety practices can be the key to surviving a
house or building fire.
Install smoke detectors.
Check them once a month and change the batteries at least once a year.
Develop and practice an
escape plan. Make sure all family members know what to do in a fire.
- Draw a floor plan with
at least two ways of escaping every room. Choose a safe meeting place
outside the house.
- Practice alerting other
household members. It is a good idea to keep a bell and a flashlight in each
bedroom for this purpose.
- Practice evacuating the
building blindfolded. In a real fire situation, the amount of smoke
generated by a fire will most likely make it impossible to see.
- Practice staying low to
the ground when escaping.
- Feel all doors before
opening them. If the door is hot, get out another way.
- Learn to stop, drop to
the ground, and roll if clothes catch fire.
Post emergency numbers
However, be aware that if a fire threatens your home, you should not place the
call to your emergency services from inside the home. It is better to get out
first and place the call from somewhere else.
ladders at hardware stores and practice using them.
Install A-B-C type fire
extinguishers in the home and teach family members how to use them.
Do not store combustible
materials in closed areas or near a heat source.
Keep the stove area clean and clear of combustibles such as bags, boxes, and
other appliances. If a fire starts, put a lid over the burning pan or use a fire
extinguisher. Be careful. Moving the pan can cause the fire to spread. Never
pour water on grease fires.
Check electrical wiring.
- Replace wiring if
frayed or cracked.
- Make sure wiring is not
under rugs, over nails, or in high traffic areas. Do not overload outlets or
- Outlets should have
cover plates and no exposed wiring.
- Only purchase
appliances and electrical devices that have a label indicating that they
have been inspected by a testing laboratory such as Underwriter's
Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM).
Contact your local fire
department or American
Red Cross chapter for more information on fire safety.
Get out as quickly and as
safely as possible.
Use the stairs to escape.
When evacuating, stay low
to the ground.
If possible, cover mouth with a cloth to avoid inhaling smoke and gases.
Close doors in each room
after escaping to delay the spread of the fire.
If in a room with a closed
- If smoke is pouring in
around the bottom of the door or it feels hot, keep the door closed.
- Open a window to escape
or for fresh air while awaiting rescue.
- If there is no smoke at
the bottom or top and the door is not hot, then open the door slowly.
- If there is too much
smoke or fire in the hall, slam the door shut.
Call the fire department
from a location outside the house.
Give first aid where
Seriously injured or burned victims should be transported to professional
medical help immediately.
Stay out of damage
Return home only when local fire authorities say it is safe.
Look for structural
Discard food that has been
exposed to heat, smoke, or soot.
Contact insurance agent.
Don't discard damaged goods until after an inventory has been taken. Save
receipts for money relating to fire loss.
Heating devices such as portable heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces demand
safe operation. Use portable heaters in well-ventilated rooms only. Refuel
kerosene heaters outdoors only. Have chimneys and wood stoves cleaned annually.
Buy only approved heaters and follow the manufacturers' directions.
Smoke detectors more than double the chance of surviving a fire. Smoke detectors
sense abnormal amounts of smoke or invisible combustion gases in the air. They
can detect both smoldering and burning fires. At least one smoke detector should
be installed on every level of a structure. Test the smoke detectors each month
and replace the batteries at least once a year. Purchase smoke detectors labeled
by the Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM).