Growing up, most people learned some basic principles of fire safety—namely, stop, drop and roll, touching doorknobs with the back of your hand before opening them and staying low to avoid the smoke from a fire. While those tips are helpful, they don’t cover everything regarding fire safety.
Knowing what to do when you see a fire could save your life and the life of your friends or family. Understanding the basics of fire safety can offer you a foundation of knowledge that you’ll hopefully never have to use.
Here’s what to do when you see a fire.
Have an escape plan
Wherever you live and wherever you go, make sure to note the location of the entrance and other possible exits. There is almost always more than one way to exit a structure, and knowing the location of alternative and emergency exits can allow you to quickly and safely escape in the event of a fire. Note the presence and placement of windows as well, as they can serve as escape routes if needed.
Alert other people
If you’re in a building with a fire alarm, you can pull that to alert other people in the building that there’s a fire. If there is no fire alarm, or you can’t reach one, you can yell, “Fire!” loudly several times in a row so that other people know there’s an emergency. People won’t know to leave the building if they don’t know that there’s a fire inside.
Depending on where the fire is, this can be the most difficult part of fire safety. Most buildings have a natural exit that you’re most likely to use, so try that first. If that’s blocked, try an alternate exit. As you progress through the building, test doorknobs for temperature with the back of your hand. If the doorknob is hot, don’t open it; if it’s warm, don’t open it. If there’s smoke coming from under the door, don’t open it.
If you do open doors to escape, make sure to close them behind you, as this can slow the spread of the fire. If you’re forced to go through smoke to evacuate, stay as low as possible to avoid breathing in the poisonous fumes. Most people die in fires from smoke inhalation, not from the flames themselves.
If you absolutely can’t get out, call for help, place a wet towel under the door of the room you’re in and make yourself easy to find for firefighters. You can open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth to signal that you need help.
Meet up and stay out
You should designate an outdoor meeting place with your family or roommates in the event of a fire and meet up there after you escape from the blaze. Call 911 at this point, if you haven’t yet. Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building once you’ve escaped. Personal items can be replaced, and you can tell a firefighter that there’s a missing pet or person in the house, and they can attempt to retrieve them.
Call for your fire escape today
Now that you know some fire safety tips and what to do when you see a fire, call us at Great Escape Fire Escape Service, where we’ve been offering fire escape solutions for over 20 years.