Fire happens every day. According to the US fire departments, about a million fires happen every year. It can happen to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. Don’t say that a fire would never happen to your house. No matter how prepared you are, there are uncontrollable things that may result in a disaster.
Fires spread exponentially and temperatures can get up to 600 degrees in just a matter of minutes. The thick black smoke and toxic gases give you a very short time to escape alive.
Fires are unpredictable, but your survival doesn’t have to be. Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do when a fire occurs in your house.
Beware of Signs of Fire and React Immediately
Get out as soon as you hear your smoke alarm or even see/smell smoke. You need to stay cool and calm despite the stress, confusion, and heat.
Having a smoke alarm will make things easier if you’re caught in a fire. Each home should have smoke alarms installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every floor of the house. Of course, make sure the alarms are working properly.
Cover Your Nose and Mouth
Your room or your home will start filling with smoke rapidly. You’re most probably going to pass that area to get out of the house, and breathing in too much smoke can cause you to pass ut. Make sure to fight back the deadly smoke by wetting a cloth and holding it over your nose and mouth.
Know Your Way Out
Make sure that you get out of the house immediately if there’s a fire. Be extra faster but also more careful when there are children or elderly people in your home. It is important that you create an escape plan in your house and practice it at least twice a year. The whole family should know two ways out of every room and designate a meeting place in front of your home for everyone to meet once you’re out of the house.
Stay Low to the Ground
Covering your nose and mouth might only buy you a few extra minutes, but during a house fire, every second count. Smoke is considered to be a greater threat than the fire itself, but fire also rises. So aside from protecting your nose and mouth, improve your chances of survival by getting on your hands and knees, and crawling your way toward an exit.
Check Every Door
A closed-door either saves or traps you. Remember to close the door as you pass from one door to another to avoid the fire from spreading. Fires need oxygen to survive, so by closing doors, you’re cutting off the free flow of oxygen between the rooms.
But you also need to be careful when you open doors ahead of you. Look for any smoke that might come through the cracks, and feel the door for heat. Don’t open it if there’s fire on the other side. But if it’s safe, then open it just a crack in order to make sure. If the room’s clear, move ahead, but stay alert.
Stop, Drop, and Roll
This is the basic mantra that firefighters stand by. Rolling back and forth will smother the flames if your clothes catch fire. After doing this, you can get back on track.
What to Do When Trapped
If you are trapped, close all the doors between you and the fire. Try your best to fill the cracks in doors and cover all the vents to keep the smoke out of the room you are trapped in. If you have access to a phone, call 911 immediately and tell them where you are located.