Smoke detectors save lives! A properly installed and maintained smoke detector can lower the chance of death in a home fire by fifty percent. Almost half of the nation’s fire fatalities occur in the six percent of homes that do not have smoke alarms. Early warning systems, such as smoke detectors, can save live and greatly reduce property damage. Most fatal fires occur at night when residents are sleeping. The best way to survive is to install and maintain a smoke detector within the home. Early fire detection and notification of residents is essential to a rapid escape to safety.
Once a fire starts, as you have learned, fire spreads and grows at a rapid rate and individuals may have only seconds to escape to safety. Developing a fire escape plan is very important so that your family knows what to do when a fire occurs. It is important to plan two escape routes from every room within your home. All family members should know all possible escape routes. Also, agree on a fixed location outdoors away from any danger where family members are to gather, like a tree or mailbox, so you know everyone has escaped. Practice the escape plan with your family before a real emergency occurs. If a fire occurs and there is a need for immediate escape, do not trying to contain the fire or call 9-1-1 from the home. Leave immediately and call 9-1-1 from a neighbor’s phone or from safe location. When out of danger stay out of the home, do not go back inside for any reason.
General Fire Safety
During a fire, do the following:
• Use a fire extinguisher to put out very small fires. Do NOT try to put out a fire that you can’t control.
• If there’s a fire that appears to be too big to put out, leave the building immediately. Once you’re
outside and safe, call 9-1-1 from a safe area.
• If your clothes catch fire, do NOT run. Stop, Drop, and Roll! Stop immediately; drop to the ground;
cover your face; and roll about until the fire is extinguished.
• When the smoke detector or fire alarm sounds, leave the building.
• If smoke is consuming or filling your home, exit immediately and stay as low to the ground as
possible while exiting. Smoke is very dangerous to your health. If possible crawl on your hands
and knees to exit.
• If a fire occurs and you are trapped within a room, close the door and do not open the door.
• If the door feels cool to the touch and there is no sign of smoke, open the door slowly and
exit the building.
• If the door is warm or smoke is coming under or around the door, use towels, blankets or clothing
to seal around the door or vents to keep smoke out. Call 9-1-1 if possible and notify them that of the
type of emergency, the address and that you’re trapped. To signal the fire departments, place a
cloth hanging outside the window or flash a flashlight to let firefighters know your location.
• Always sleep with your bedroom door closed. This will prevent heat and smoke entering the room.
If a person or a pet is trapped inside a building, notify the firefighter first on scene. Do not attempt to rescue the trapped person.
(Pearl River Hook and Ladder Firefighter John Redmond demonstrates various pieces of firefighting equipment for Fire Prevention Week, while Fire Commissioner Evan Devries talks to the children)
Picture by 2nd Chief Chauffeur Cory E. Clarkston (USN-Retired)