Discussing fires can be frightening, as no one enjoys the prospect of someone being harmed or their property being burned. However, if you are prepared, you can feel less fearful.
It’s important to discuss emergency plans, but it’s even better to practice them, such as during school fire drills. Conducting a fire drill at home allows everyone to practice their response in the event of a real emergency. As you can see, everyone can exit the house quickly and safely. Every year, your family should practice this drill twice. Additionally, this is an excellent time to remind your parents to replace the batteries in their smoke alarms.
During a home fire drill, a good rule of thumb is to see if your family can safely exit the house via the escape routes and reconvene outside in the same location within three minutes. For an added challenge, you could try variations such as pretending that the front door is blocked and you are unable to exit through it.
Individual families will have unique plans. Some children live in single-story homes, while others reside in tall buildings. You’re going to want to discuss escape plans and routes, so let’s begin there.
A family’s escape plan can assist each member of the family in escaping a burning house. The objective is to exit quickly and safely. Because smoke from a fire can obscure visibility, it’s critical to learn and memorize the various exit routes from your home. How many exits exist? How are they accessible from your room? It’s a good idea to have your family create an escape plan map.
Because one exit may be blocked by fire or smoke, you’ll want to know where the other exits are located. Additionally, if you live in an apartment building, you’ll want to be familiar with the best route to the stairwell or other emergency exits.
If you are in a room with the door closed when the fire begins, you must take the following additional steps:
Examine the cracks around the door for signs of heat or smoke. (You’re checking to see if the other side is on fire.)
If you see smoke coming from beneath the door, do not open it!
If there is no visible smoke, touch the door. If the door is hot or extremely warm, do not open it!
If you do not see smoke — and the door is not hot — then gently touch the doorknob with your fingers. If the doorknob is hot or extremely warm, do not open it!
If the doorknob feels cool to the touch and there is no visible smoke around the door, carefully and slowly open the door. When you open the door, if a burst of heat or smoke enters the room, quickly close it and double-check that it is completely closed. If there is no smoke or heat when you open the door, proceed to the exit designated for your escape route.
If you see smoke in the house, keep a low profile while making your way to the exit. In a fire, smoke and poisonous air cause more injuries than the flames themselves. Stay close to the ground to inhale less smoke.
Smoke naturally rises, so if you’re using your escape route and encounter smoke, staying low allows you to crawl beneath the majority of it. You can collapse to the floor and crawl beneath the smoke on your hands and knees.
Your first option for escape should be to exit through a door that leads outside. However, inquire with your parents about windows and possible escape routes. Even windows on a higher floor could be used as safe escape routes if a firefighter or another adult assisted you.
Solicit instruction from your parents on how to unlock, open, and, if necessary, remove the screen from the windows. Make certain you do this only in an emergency! Numerous children are injured when they fall out of windows.
Occasionally, families will have collapsible rescue ladders on hand to assist them in evacuating from upper floors of a house. If you have one, have your mother or father demonstrate how it works.
Along with planning your escape routes, you’ll want to determine a meeting location for family members outside. This is advantageous because everyone will gather in one location, and you will know that everyone is safe. You could choose a neighbor’s front porch or another nearby location.
While it’s natural to be concerned about your pets or a favorite toy, you must leave them behind if there is a fire. The most critical factor is that you escape safely. Additionally, it is critical to understand that you should not remain in the house longer than necessary — not even to call 911. Someone else from the outside can make that call.
Once you’ve exited, do not return for anything — including pets. Inform the fire rescue personnel of any pets that were left behind; they may be able to assist.
If you’re unable to flee quickly due to fire or smoke blocking an escape route, you’ll want to yell for assistance. This can be done through an open window or by dialing 911 if you have a phone on you.
Even if you are afraid, never seek refuge beneath the bed or in a closet. Then firefighters will have difficulty locating you. Bear in mind that firefighters or other responsible adults will be looking for you to assist you in exiting safely. The sooner they locate you, the sooner you can both flee.
Meanwhile, block the cracks around the door with sheets, blankets, and/or clothing to prevent heat and smoke from entering. If there is a window in the room from which you cannot escape, open it wide and take a position in front of it. If you can, place a piece of clothing or a towel over your mouth to prevent inhaling smoke. This method works even better if the cloth is moistened first.
Clothing can catch fire during a fire or accidentally, such as if you step too close to a candle. If this occurs, do not flee! Rather than that, come to a halt, fall to the ground, cover your face with your hands, and roll. This will extinguish the flames by cutting off the air supply. Stop, Drop, and Roll is an easy way to remember this.
Each year, children of all ages start over 35,000 fires that cause injury and property damage. You can help prevent fires by never playing with matches, lighters, or other sources of ignition. Additionally, avoid using fireplaces, candles, and stoves.