Preparing and Preventing a Home Fire – Steps You Can Take Now

  • Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Talk to your children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Download the Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies mobile game to teach kids about fire safety and other disasters.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.

Smoke Alarms

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  • Test smoke alarms once a month, if they’re not working, change the batteries.
  • Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Never disable smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

Follow Your Escape Plan

During a home fire, remember to GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency phone number.

  • If closed doors or handles are warm, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
  • Crawl low under smoke.
  • Go to your outside meeting place and then call for help.
  • If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or 9-1-1. Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.

Use Caution With Fire Extinguishers

Use a portable fire extinguisher ONLY if you have been trained by the fire department and in the following conditions:

  • The fire is confined to a small area, and is not growing.
  • The room is not filled with smoke.
  • Everyone has exited the building.
  • The fire department has been called.

Immediately After a House Fire

  • Have injuries treated by a medical professional. Wash small wounds with soap and water. To help prevent infection of small wounds, use bandages and replace them if they become soiled, damaged or waterlogged.
  • Remain calm. Pace yourself. You may find yourself in the position of taking charge of other people. Listen carefully to what people are telling you, and deal patiently with urgent situations first.
  • Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter.
  • Anyone entering your damaged home should wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, closed-toed rubber-soled shoes or boots and work gloves, plus dust masks, safety goggles and/or a hard hat when necessary.

More tips from the RED CROSS

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