May 31, 2017

Fire safety plan: Be aware and prepared in case of fire


Get the whole family involved in home safety by developing a fire safety plan.

Summer break, while the kids are out of school, can be a good time to take stock of family safety. Being prepared in case of fire is important for the household.

Be prepared

Follow these tips to be prepared for a fire emergency and develop a fire safety plan to protect your family.

  • Install smoke alarms on each level of your home and outside each sleeping area.
  • Test smoke alarms regularly each month by pushing the “test button” (use a broom handle or stick to test alarms that are too high, or ask someone to help you).
  • If the alarms have batteries, replace the batteries at least twice a year. If an alarm is “chirping,” this means that the battery is low and needs changing.
  • Clean alarms with a vacuum cleaner, without removing the cover from the alarm.
  • Never remove an alarm battery because it sounds off while you’re cooking.
  • If a battery-operated smoke alarm is more than 10¬†years old, replace the unit with a new one.
  • Develop a realistic escape plan with two ways out of every room. Practice the plan, keeping in mind your physical abilities.
  • Keep all exits clear.
  • Keep glasses, medicines, a telephone, a flashlight and walking aids close to your bed.
  • Have a visible address on your home.
  • Know your emergency contact phone number (911 or other).

If a fire happens

  • STAY CALM and use your escape plan.
  • If the door is hot to the touch, do not open it. Fire and deadly smoke are on the other side of the door. Instead, use your alternate exit.
  • When escaping through smoke, crawl low to the ground, if possible, where it is easier to breathe. Smoke rises in a fire and contains deadly gases. Even one breath can make you pass out.
  • If you’re in a multi-story building when fire occurs, use the stairs. Do not use the elevator.
  • Once outside the building, call or be sure that someone has called your emergency number (911 or another) from a neighbor’s house, a cellphone or a cordless phone. Listen and give the information needed (name, address, location of fire, etc.) as calmly as possible.
  • If in a group residence setting, once outside, count to make sure everyone is out. If someone is missing, tell firefighters where the person is, if known.

What if my clothes catch fire?

  • If your clothing catches fire, STOP (do not run) DROP (to the ground) and ROLL (around to smother the flames)
  • If you cannot Stop, Drop and Roll, smother the flames with a towel or blanket.
  • Remove clothing over burns and call for medical help.

Source: Vanderbilt Burn Center