Keeping Safe During a Fire

React when you hear your smoke alarm . If you hear your smoke detector or alarm going off, get out of bed, wrap yourself in a blanket if there's one at hand and get out of there! Shoes or slippers are a good idea if they are handy, but do not take the time to tie your shoes.

Use the door . If your door is open and there is a fire preventing you from exiting the room, close the door to protect yourself from the fire, and follow the "hot door" procedures below. Otherwise, treat it as a "cool door".

Feel the door. If your door is closed, feel it for heat with the back of your hand -

  • If you feel down towards the bottom of the door and it is really cool, that's good. Open it slowly and take a look at the conditions on the other side. If there is a lot of smoke and it's banked up towards the ceiling area, stay lower to the ground and crawl to get yourself out. If you are able to get out, also go through and yell for other people to get out of the house. Wake everyone up, get the kids out of bed, and get outside as quickly as you can.
  • If you feel the door and it is hot, there is a lot of heat on the other side. Do not open it; use a second way out. If there is no safe door, go over the window and try to get out of the house that way.

Know what to do if your exit is blocked by fire. You should always have two means of exiting the building. If you cannot get out the front door, what are the secondary escape routes? Think about whether it is a window or a different door. You should always make an escape plan with your family.

Escape from a second story window . If you have a two-story house, you should have an escape ladder that you can throw out in case a fire or other problem happens.

  • If you are trapped in your second story room in the event of a fire, do what you can to get yourself to an area where people will be able to hear you or see you. You can take a sheet or something else - white preferably - and hang it out the window to signify that you need help when the first responders get there. Be sure to close the window - leaving it open draws the fire towards the fresh oxygen. Put something down to prevent the smoke from coming underneath the door, such as a towel or anything that you can find.
  • If you really must get out of the window, look for a ledge and if there is a ledge, you can get yourself out onto the ledge facing the building. Always face the building structure when exiting a window on an upper floor. From a second story, if you have to hang, you might get closer to the ground and you could potentially let go and fall to safety. However, the truth of the matter is that you are probably a lot safer staying put and trying to compartmentalize by closing doors between you and the fire, prevent the smoke from coming into the room, putting something over your nose and mouth to filter the air and hoping for the best.

Protect yourself from smoke inhalation when inside. Take a t-shirt or a rag and wet it. Place it over your nose and mouth. This will only buy you a minute or so, which is not a lot of time, but it does help to filter those products of combustion which lead to smoke inhalation. Smoke inhalation causes people to become disoriented and can even render a person unconscious. Knowing this, you should cover your nose and mouth if you have to walk by or through a heavily smoke-filled room.

Account for everyone and call for help once you are out .

  • Have a pre-determined meeting place for all family members.
  • Do a head count. If anybody is missing, only re-enter the building if it is safe to do so. Tell the first responders immediately on their arrival if you are afraid somebody is missing. Likewise, if everybody is accounted for, let the fire responders know so that they're not sending people in endangering their lives looking for others.
  • Call the emergency number 10 177.
  • Do an assessment. After making the call and the resources are coming, it is time to check yourself and family members to make sure that there are no injuries. If there are, do what you can to address that and when the fire department arrives, you can ask for directions and help.

Get away from the structure. Keep a safe distance between you and the fire.


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