Basic characteristics of fire:
• Fire is FAST. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
• Fire is DARK. Fire produces gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three- to- one ratio.
• Fire is HOT. Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the superhot air can sear your lungs.
BEFORE A FIRE
The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your property in the event of a fire:
SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
• Install smoke alarms. Properly working smoke alarms decrease your chances of dying in a fire by half.
• Place smoke alarms on every level of your residence, including the basement.
• Install a working carbon monoxide detector in the common area of the bedrooms.
• Test and clean smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year.
• Never leave cooking unattended.
• Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames
• Never use the range or oven to heat your home.
ESCAPING THE FIRE
• Review escapes routes with your family.
• Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut.
• Teach family members to stay low to the floor, where the air is safer, when escaping from a fire.
• In high-rise, never lock fire exits or doorways,
MATCHES/LIGHTERS AND SMOKING
• Keep matches/lighters away from children.
• Never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated.
• If you must smoke, do it responsibly.
• Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs
• Make sure outlets have cover plates and no exposed wiring.
• Make sure wiring does not run under rugs, over nails, or across high traffic areas.
• Do not overload extension cords or outlets.
DURING A FIRE
If your clothes catch on fire, you should:
• Stop, drop, and roll until the fire is extinguished.
DO NOT PANIC
• Do not assume someone else already called the fire department get out of the house then call the Fire Department.
ESCAPE A FIRE
• Check closed doors with the back of your hand to feel for heat before you open them.
• If the door is hot do not open it. Find a second way out, such as a window. If you cannot escape through a window, hang a white sheet outside the window to alert firefighters to your presence.
• Stuff the cracks around the door with towels, rags, bedding or tape and cover vents to keep smoke out.
• If there is a phone in the room where you are trapped, call the fire department again and tell them exactly where you are.
• If the door is cold slowly open it and ensure that fire and/or smoke are not blocking your escape route. If your escape route is blocked, shut the door and use another escape route.
• If clear, leave immediately and close the door behind you. Be prepared to crawl.
AFTER A FIRE
• Once you are out of the building, STAY OUT! Do not go back inside for any reason.
• Tell the fire department if you know of anyone trapped in the building.
• Only enter when the fire department tells you it is safe to do so.