Have a Home Escape Plan
Family members should discuss what to do in case of a fire. An organized step-by-step plan is essential to ensure a safe escape.
Know Two Ways Out
Discuss and diagram two ways out of every room, especially bedrooms. Doors are the primary and windows are the secondary ways of exit. Make sure everyone knows how to unlock all locks and quickly open all windows and doors.
Choose a Meeting Place
Have a place outdoors for everyone to meet for roll call. Make sure someone is assigned to call 911 from a neighbor's house, pay phone, or cell phone.
Get Out Fast
Exit as quickly as possible. If it is smoky, get down low, and stay low. Crawl as quickly as possible. Once outside, go to the family meeting place.
If You Are Trapped
Put closed doors between people and smoke. Stuff cracks and cover vents to keep smoke out. Wait at the window and signal with a flashlight or sheet.
If a dwelling has more than one level above ground, we recommend the use of a portable escape ladder in an emergency evacuation. If you do not have a portable ladder, hang a sheet, shirt, or some type of flag out the window for the rescuers to see. Do not jump unless there is immediate danger of being burned or overcome by smoke.
Do Not Go Back Inside
Make sure everyone in the family understands the importance of not going back inside a burning building for any reason. Someone who goes back in may not come back out.
Practice Exit Drills
Practice in the home or apartment. Appoint someone to sound the alarm and time the drill, making sure everyone uses the second escape route, gets low, and goes. Most fatal fires occur at night when everyone is asleep, so everyone should start the drill in his/her bedroom.
- Close the door and wait for the monitor to sound the alarm.
- Get out fast and go to the meeting place, where the monitor will then take a head count and review the drill, and discuss any problems with escape routes.
- Practice crawling fast and staying low to escape smoke. Smoke rises while clean air stays low near the floor, so get down and crawl, maintaining contact with the walls while heading to the nearest exit.
- Test the door using the back of your hands. In a real fire, if it is hot, take your second way out. If the second exit is not an option, brace a shoulder against the door and open it carefully, being ready to close it quickly if heat or smoke rush in.
Play it Safe and Install a Smoke Detector
The early warning of a working smoke detector provides crucial seconds that can save lives. Remember to change batteries in the spring and in the fall when you change your clock for daylight savings time.
For more information, contact the Fire Department at 830-249-3644.