Be Smart & Survive
Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and in each sleeping area, including the basement. Remember to keep them in working order. Test batteries once a month and replace them twice a year (e.g., at the beginning and end of daylight savings time). Develop an escape plan and practice it often with every member of your household. Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your home.
Exit Drills in the Home (EDITH)
Plan Your Escape Today
Draw a bird's-eye view floor plan of your home and clearly mark each room's escape routes. Point out all doors, windows, stairways, porches, and porch roofs. Mark two ways out of every room, especially sleeping areas.
Draw a Floor Plan
Draw a birds-eye view floor plan of your home with clearly marked escape routes of each room. Indicate all doors and windows, as well as stairways, porches, and porch roofs. Mark two ways out of every room, especially sleeping areas.
Central Meeting Place
Establish a central meeting place outside your home. After escaping a fire, go to the meeting place right away and wait for the fire department to arrive. Make sure everyone is accounted for. This will let the fire department know if anyone is missing or trapped inside the burning house. Never go back into a burning house for any reason; let trained firefighters do their job.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice your escape plan often. Appoint a "fire chief" (e.g., father, mother, or grandparent) to hold realistic fire drills in the home and have everyone participate. Speed is vital. Get out quickly and carefully. Pretend some exits are blocked by the fire and practice alternative escape routes.
- Test doors before opening them. While kneeling or crouching at the door, feel the crack between the door and its frame. Reach up as high as you can and touch the door with the back of your hand. If you feel any warmth at all, do not open the door. Use a different escape route. If the door feels cool, wedge your foot so you can slightly open the door with caution. As a precaution, sleep with bedroom doors closed. It helps to hold back heat and smoke.
- As you exit your home, get on your hands and knees and remain low to the ground to crawl under the smoke. Smoke contains deadly gases and heat rises. Cleaner air will be near the floor.
- If you are trapped, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff towels or other objects in cracks around the doors to keep smoke out. Wait at the window and signal for help. If there is a phone in the room, call 9-1-1 and report exactly where you are.
Make sure everyone in the household can unlock all doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Windows or doors with security bars need to be equipped with quick-release devices and everyone, including small children, should know how to use them.
Fire Prevention is Your Best Fire Protection
Be careful when smoking and when using matches, gas appliances, electrical devices, and outlets. Avoid misusing electrical appliances and outlets. Have heating equipment cleaned and checked for repairs regularly. Remember: smoke protectors save lives!