It’s wise to plan for all types of emergencies that could strike at home – from gas and carbon monoxide leaks to burst pipes and flooded basements – but fire is the most critical emergency to plan for.
Thorough fire preparedness involves planning before an emergency strikes. For instance, you should work out escape routes from each room and arrange a safe meeting spot outside. Emergency preparedness also includes following basic fire safety tips, such as limiting your use of open-flame candles and repairing electrical hazards promptly.
By preparing today, you’ll have a plan if the unthinkable happens. Here’s what to do in case of a fire at home:
Know Your Way Out
The goal in a fire is to get out safely and quickly. Smoke can make it difficult to see, so it’s important to know the safe ways out of your home before disaster strikes. If fire blocks one path, you can try another, including a window. If you live in an apartment building, make sure you know the location of all exit stairways.
In the stress of the moment, you may hesitate and attempt to bring belongings with you. However, this hesitation could cost you your life! Fire spreads very quickly, and your life is the most important consideration. Remember, once you make your way out, you should never re-enter the building.
Check the Doors
If you’re in a room with the door closed and you suspect a fire, don’t open the door until you perform these safety precautions:
- Look around the door to see if heat, smoke, or flames are coming through the cracks. If so, keep the door closed and find another way out of the room.
- If you don’t see signs that the fire is nearby, touch the door with the back of your hand to see if it’s warm. If so, keep the door closed and find another way out of the room.
- If the door isn’t hot, touch the doorknob to test if it’s warm. If so, keep the door closed and find another way out of the room.
- If there’s no heat, flames, or smoke, and the door and doorknob feel cool, slowly open the door. If you feel a wave of heat, or smoke enters the room, close the door immediately.
- As long as you feel no heat and see no smoke, exit the room and proceed with your evacuation plan.
If you encounter smoke along your evacuation route, stay low to the ground to help you breathe in less poisonous fumes. After all, most people killed in house fires die of smoke inhalation, not burns.
Call for Help if You Can’t Get Out
If fire blocks your path out of the house, get to a window and signal for help, or make a call on your cell phone. Never hide under the bed or in a closet. If family or safety personnel come looking for you, you want to be easy to find. While you wait, put towels, sheets, or clothes under the door to keep smoke out.
Go to Your Pre-Arranged Meeting Spot
Stand a safe distance from the house where other family members have gathered and call the fire department.
After you follow this fire preparedness checklist and you know everyone’s safe, you can begin thinking about your recovery. The professionals at Rainbow International® are here to help you get back on your feet. We handle every step of the fire restoration process, from salvaging belongings to repairing your home to submitting insurance claims. For a quick and painless fire recovery, please contact us today.