Fire Prevention

Sparky says…
Planning and practicing a home fire escape plan is a smart thing to do. Get together with your family to draw a plan of your home that includes all windows and doors. Here are some important tips to help you make your plan:

1. Two Ways Out: Every room should have two ways out. One way out would be the door and the second way out may be a window. If your first way out is blocked by fire or smoke you should use your second way out. Emergency escape from a second story window may involve using a home fire safety ladder. If your escape plan includes an escape ladder, practice using it from a first floor window with a grown-up.

2. Working Smoke Alarms: Make sure your home has at least one smoke alarm on every level and outside the sleeping areas. If you sleep with your bedroom door closed, ask a grown-up to install a smoke alarm inside your bedroom. Ask a grown-up to test your smoke alarms each month by pushing the test button, and to replace the batteries once a year or when it makes a chirping sound which means the battery is running low.

NOTE: Newer smoke alarms have a universal signal repetition of 3 beeps, followed by a 1 1/2 second pause.

3. Outside Meeting Place: Pick a family meeting place outside the home, where everyone will meet once they have escaped. A good meeting place would be a tree, a streetlight, a telephone pole, or a neighbor’s home. Be sure to stay a safe distance from emergency vehicles.

4. Lots of Practice: Practice your plan with your family at least twice a year. Get your family together for tonight and practice your “great escape.” Remember: Never go back inside a burning building. Once out, stay out!

If you live in an apartment building, here is some special information for you. In some cases, the safest action when a fire alarm sounds may be to stay inside your apartment and protect yourself from smoke until the fire department arrives. This is called a “passive escape.” If escaping is your best course of action, follow your escape plan unless there is immediate danger. Take your key with you in case you are forced to return to your apartment. Always use the stairs – never the elevator- in case of fire alarms. An elevator may stop at a floor where the fire is burning or it may malfunction and trap you.

If you are unable to leave the building, use your passive escape.

  • Seal all doors and vents with duct tape or towels to prevent smoke from entering the room.
  • Open a window at the top and bottom so fresh air can enter. Be ready to close the window immediately if it draws smoke into the room.
  • Call the fire department and let them know that you are still inside the building.
  • Wave a flashlight or light colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.
  • Be patient. Rescuing all the occupants of a high-rise building can take a long time.