Let’s face it. The thought of flames engulfing your home, belongings, family, or yourself is frightening. Fire disasters occur more often than you may realize. In 2013, one home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds in the U.S. with a grand total of more than 487,000 structure fires in the year.
Homes include one-and two-family homes, apartments, townhouses, row houses, and manufactured homes. But no matter what type of home you live in, a simple accident with a candle falling off the shelf, a forgotten meal in the oven, improper use of lighter fluid in a barbecue grill, or a curious young child playing with matches can spell fire disaster for homeowners.
If a fire breaks out, every second counts when making your escape. In just two minutes, a fire can become life threatening. With this in mind, the following are helpful tips on what you can do to be prepared in case fire disaster happens and what to do.
Before Emergency Strikes
- Be sure you have a working smoke alarms so all household members are clearly alerted in the event of a fire. Set a reminder in your cell phone or on your computer to check each smoke alarm at the start of each month to make sure they are working properly. Then, replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Perform a walk-through of your home and develop a map of each room with a plan for at least two ways to escape from every room as well as a meeting spot that each family member knows. Then, practice your plan so that everyone in the household knows what to do to safely escape the burning structure. Be sure to accommodate for the needs of everyone in the family, including small children, elderly, or physically challenged.
- Place a fire extinguisher on every level of your home. Make sure it has the ABC rating so that it’s usable for all types of fires. Read the instructions on how to use it so you can act quickly if needed. Test the fire extinguishers to make sure they are working properly.
- Put a sticker on windows to alert firefighters that pets are in a home. Firefighters have the obligation of protecting people and property first, but will save pets if possible.
- Consider installing escape ladders if you have multiple floors on your home. Make sure everyone knows how to use them if installed.
- Limit the use of open-flame candles in your home. While pleasant to smell and a great way to create ambiance, candles cause over 15,000 residential fires each year. If you light candles in your home, never leave them unattended.
- Place a telephone or cell phone beside your bed at night. Call for help if a fire emergency occurs.
- Educate everyone in the family on what to do if their clothes catch on fire. Knowing how to stop, drop and roll can save their life. Practice the steps with children in the home. Attend a fire safety seminar to learn about ways to protect your family against fire.
- Ask for expert advice from your local fire department, insurance company, or the experts at Rainbow International. Many fire departments will inspect a home and offer fire safety and preventions tips.
In the Midst of a Fire Emergency
- As soon as the smoke alarm sounds, make your way out of the home. Don’t hesitate to grab items to take with you. Also, never re-enter the home. A fire can spread very quickly and your safety is most important.
- Beware of hot doors. Hot doors mean that the fire is nearby and the door should not be opened. The best way to check for heat is to feel the top of the door with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, don’t open it. If you can’t get out through the door, find a way to signal your presence in a window, with nearby items such as a flashlight or white sheet.
- As you move through the burning structure, stay low to the ground. Crawl out of the burning home to prevent breathing harmful smoke and poisonous gases.
- If your clothes catch on fire, stop immediately and drop and roll to smother the flames. Continue to make your escape and seek medical attention immediately.
- Go to the pre-arranged meeting spot immediately and call for help.
When a fire disaster invades your home, property, belongings, or family, the first thing you want to know is that everything will be okay. If you’re faced with a fire disaster, let the professionals at Rainbow International® professionally clean your upholstery, drapes, carpets, walls, and all other contents.