Be Smart & Survive
Install smoke detectors on every level and in each sleeping area of your home, including the basement. Remember to keep them in working order. Batteries should be tested once a month and replaced twice a year, at the beginning and end of daylight savings time. Develop an escape plan of your house and practice it often with every member of your household. Even consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your home.
Exit Drills in the Home (E.D.I.T.H.)
Plan Your Escape Today
Once a fire has started, there is no time to plan how to get out. Sit down with your family today and make a step-by-step plan for escaping a fire.
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, immediately find the meeting place and wait for the fire department to arrive. This meeting place allows a count of everyone in the household, which could then inform the fire department 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" (typically father, mother, grandparent, etc.) to hold realistic fire drills in the home and have everyone participate. Speed is vital, so get out quickly and carefully. Pretend some exits are blocked by 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 and then 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 and use an alternate escape route. If the door feels cool, wedge your foot so you can slightly open the door with caution. Note: As a precaution, sleep with bedroom doors closed. It helps to hold back heat and smoke.
- As you exit the home, remain low to the ground on your hands and knees, crawling low under the smoke. Smoke contains deadly gases and heat rises; therefore, 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 / outlets. Avoid misuses of electrical appliances and outlets. Have heating equipment cleaned and checked for repairs regularly. You can prevent fires and protect your loved ones by remembering that... smoke protectors save lives!