Checklist for Fire Safe Families
Fire safety is a family affair. Plan ahead now with your family to prevent fires and burns. Remember that being fire safety saves lives. Discuss the following information with your parents, siblings, other family members and friends.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor and outside each sleeping area of the home.
- Smoke alarms should be tested on a monthly basis. Make sure everyone knows that the piercing sound means danger, and they should escape quickly.
- Gather all family members to plan at least two escape routes. Include a safe place to meet outside, such as a neighbor’s house or a certain tree.
- Practice fire drills following these escape routes.
- Store matches, lighters and any flammable materials in safe places away from children.
- Know to crawl on the floor for easier breathing when running from a fire.
- Keep calm if clothes catch on fire. Stop, drop and roll until the fire goes out.
- Never return to a burning building. Call for help from a neighbor’s home.
Discuss and teach young children:
- The meaning of hot
- The difference between toys and tools for adults, such as matches and lighters
- Your local fire emergency telephone number
- To call an adult if they see smoke or fire, even if they may have accidentally started the fire themselves
- Never to hide during a fire, even though fire fighter outfits may look scary
What to Do in Case of a Fire
In addition to equipping their homes, families should make an escape plan. Such a plan should identify two ways to get out of every room in the house. If one path is blocked by fire, another escape route may be necessary. Families should also practice their escape plans. Because fear, darkness and confusion usually hinder attempts to get out of a burning building, it is recommended that families practice their escape plans in the dark.
As part of an escape plan, a family should choose a place to meet outside, so that it will be known immediately how many people are still in the house or that everyone is out. When fire does occur, people inside the house should test every door for heat before opening it. If heat is felt in the crack between the door and the door frame, on the knob or door, the alternate escape route should be used. If smoke blocks the only path out of a burning house, crawl out. Smoke contains deadly gases and is hot. It rises toward the ceiling, leaving the air near the floor less harmful.
If your clothes catch on fire, it is best to follow the “stop, drop and roll” routine. Don’t run, but stop, drop to the ground and cover your face, then roll over and over to smother the flames. People should get out quickly and stay out of a burning building. No one should ever go back into a burning house for any reason. If people do get trapped in a fire, the best thing for them to do is to close the doors against the fire and stuff the cracks around the doors to keep out smoke. If a phone is in the room, they should call the fire department. They should also try getting the attention of people on the outside.
With any fire, there can be a price to pay in both loss of life and loss of property. But, the sooner fires are detected the better. When fires are still small they are easier to put out and usually have done less damage. Of course, the best way to stop fires is to simply keep them from starting in the first place when at all possible.