Problem: Smoke alarms sound, or
five is discovered in home.
Background: In case of a fire emergency, don’t
panic; stay calm. Your safe escape may depend on clear
thinking. Get out of the house as quickly as possible,
following any previously planned escape route. Don’t stop
to collect anything or to get dressed. Feel the doors to
see if they are hot. If they are not, open them carefully.
If they are hot, don’t open them and use an alternate
escape route. Stay close to the floor because smoke and
hot gases rise. Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth
(wet if possible) and take short, shallow breaths. Keep
doors and windows closed, opening them only if necessary
for escape. Call the fire department as soon as possible
from outside your house. Never go back inside a burning
What to do: If fire does not appear to be present,
check entry 2. It’s smart to develop a family escape plan
and practice it with your entire family, including small
children. Draw a floor plan of your home, and find two
ways to exit from every room. There should be one way to
get out of each bedroom without opening the door. Explain
to children what smoke detector alarms mean, and teach
them how to leave the home by themselves if necessary.
Show them how to check doors to deter mine whether they
are hot before opening them, how to stay close to the
floor and crawl if necessary, and how to use an alternate
exit if the door is hot and should not be opened.
Decide on a meeting place a safe distance from your home,
and make sure your children understand they should wait
for you there if a fire occurs. Hold fire drills at least
every 6 months and know where to go to call the fire
department from outside your home. Keep emergency
equipment, such as fire extinguishers, in the house and
teach your family how to use them properly.
Special advice: In addition to in stalling smoke
detectors, providing fire extinguishers, and developing an
escape plan, follow good fire prevention practices. Use
smoking materials properly and never smoke in bed. Keep
matches and cigarette lighters from children. Store
flammable materials in proper containers and never use
them near open flames or sparks. Keep electrical
appliances in good condition and don’t overload electrical
circuits. Also keep stoves, fireplaces, chimneys and
barbecue grills free of grease, and make sure they are
used properly, away from combustible materials. Make
certain portable heaters and open flames, such as candles,
are not used near combustible materials. Do not allow
rubbish to accumulate.
hint: Contact your local fire department for
more ideas about how to make your home safer from fires,
and how to plan your family’s escape.