How to React During a House Fire
If a fire starts in your home, you may feel panicked, which is completely understandable. Fires pose a major threat to you, your family, your belongings, and your home. The dangerously high temperatures and flames have the power to cause extensive damage. Then, even in the aftermath of the fire, the resulting smoke and soot cause even more damage and continue after the flames have been extinguished.
However, in the event of a fire, it is important to remain calm and act immediately. The quicker you act, the less harm fire can cause, and the better you can prevent it from spreading. Use the following tips as a house fire safety guide on how to react and what to do if you have a house fire.
What to Do If a Fire Occurs in Your Home
Extinguish the Fire
If you are able to do it safely, put out the fire. In the event that the fire is too large, you may threaten your safety and well-being just by trying to extinguish it, especially because fire can spread and worsen rather quickly. As such, keep in mind what size fire you’re capable of extinguishing yourself.
When extinguishing a fire, it’s important to extinguish it properly. Otherwise, you risk making the fire worse and/or harming yourself. Not all types of fire extinguishers are meant for all types of fires. Make sure you use the correct class of fire extinguisher for the fire that you’re tending to.
This should go without saying, but if the fire is too large and/or you are unable to extinguish the fire, then you need to call your local fire department for help immediately. If you are unable to use your own landline or cell phone, then leave your home to borrow a neighbor’s phone.
Evacuate the Premises
Shout to inform others that there’s a fire in your home and that they need to evacuate right away. Stay low and crawl if necessary to avoid smoke. Close any doors you leave through to prevent the fire from spreading further. But before opening any doors, check if the doors/doorknobs feel warm. If they do, chances are the fire is right on the other side of the barrier, so you shouldn’t go that way. The same goes if smoke is entering the area through door cracks. Take an alternate escape route, such as going out a window with an escape ladder.
Remember, don’t waste time gathering belongings and valuables. It doesn’t take long for fires to spread and that time could be the difference between beating the fire and getting trapped by it.
What to Do If You’re Trapped Inside Your Home
Cover Open Spaces
Grab blankets, towels, and other materials, and use them to cover up cracks around the door, vents, and elsewhere. This will prevent smoke from using these spaces to enter the room you’re in. If possible, wet the blankets, towels, and other materials you’re using. This will make them more effective against any flames, smoke, and heat.
Open any windows in the room you’re in, and make your presence known. Yell for help and wave a bright cloth or light so you’re more easily seen from those outside, especially firefighters. People, particularly children, should never hide in an enclosed space, like in a closet or under a bed. This makes it more difficult for firefighters to find them.
Stop, Drop, and Roll
This is an important phrase to remember and act out if your clothes catch on fire. If you end up doing this, be sure to use your hands to cover up your face to protect your eyes, mouth, and nose.
Fire Prevention for Homes
Smoke Alarm Maintenance
If your home doesn’t have smoke alarms or functioning ones, then you’re putting yourself, your family, and your home at risk. If you need to purchase smoke alarms for your home, make sure you have one for every floor of your home and that there’s one outside every bedroom. Test to make sure that your smoke alarms work correctly on a monthly basis and all have fresh batteries.
Even if you have old smoke alarms that still work, there’s still a time frame in which you should replace them with new ones. Check the alarm for its manufacture date. If it has been 10 years since the listed date, then it is time to get rid of it and install replacements.
Create a Fire Safety Plan
Sit down with your family and develop a fire safety plan. That way, if a house fire does ever break out, then you and your family will all be ready and know what to do, giving you some peace of mind in an otherwise troubling situation. Among the things to include in the plan are escape routes and meeting places.
Go over the plans on a regular basis and do drills at home to make sure everyone knows and understands what to do.
Get Professional Help
If your home is the site of a house fire, keep your composure and take the necessary actions to ensure your, your family’s, and your home’s safety. Extinguish the fire if you can; otherwise, call 911 right away. Evacuate your home, and make sure anyone else in your home knows to do the same.
When everyone is safe and outside of the home and after the fire has been extinguished, it’s important to contact a professional company for fire damage restoration services. Even though the fire has been put out, there’s still damage done by lingering smoke and soot. The longer the damage goes unattended, the worse it becomes, and the more it spreads. Furthermore, more time allows any damage to become permanent.
With fire damage restoration services, professional technicians will properly clean your home and belongings, eliminate smoke odors, and restore what has been damaged.