Home Fire Safety

In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames. There are many things you can do to prevent a fire, and also things you can do to make sure you and your family survive a fire. Let's go over some tips and preparations!

Learn About Fires

  • Fire is FAST! In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can turn into a major fire. Within minutes, thick black smoke can fill a house and flames can engulf the whole thing.
  • Fire is HOT! Heat is more threatening than flames. Room temperatures in a fire can reach 600 degrees. Inhaling this extremely hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin without even directly being touched by the flames.
  • Fire is DARK! Fire starts bright, but then the black smoke spreads and makes it very hard to see your surroundings. You are usually left in complete darkness.

Be Prepared

In the event of a fire, remember that every second counts. Here are some ways to be better prepared, and we've also put together for you some printables to help you achieve these goals. They can all be found under Safety Handouts!
  • Create and practice a fire escape plan. Make sure to find two ways to get out of each room (think door and window). Make sure that windows are not stuck and screens can be removed for a quick exit. 
  • Practice getting out of your house in a dark environment and familiarize yourself with your surroundings.
  • Teach your kids how to exit the house themselves and not to wait for you, and especially not to fear Firefighters that may come in with full gear. Show them pictures of Firefighters with their masks on to ease their anxieties should they encounter one during a fire or incident.
  • Make sure you have a smoke alarm in and outside of each sleeping area and on each floor (including basements).
  • Make sure to check your smoke alarms monthly to make sure they are still in working order.
  • Change your smoke alarm batteries every 6 months, and change your smoke alarm units every 10 years.
  • Teach yourself and your children the importance of Stop, Drop, and Roll in the event of a fire or fire incident. The best way to put out a fire on your person is to STOP, DROP, and ROLL!
  • Consider having a fire safe for any important documents in your home like birth certificates, social security cards, passports, and so forth. If you cannot purchase a fire safe, consider making copies of all these documents and storing them digitally in a secured digital account.
**Download and print the Home Fire Safety Checklist in our Safety Handouts section!
Home Fire Safety Checklist

During a Fire

Fires can be scary, especially for young ones. Talking about the potential of one in your home and practicing an escape route regularly can help reduce this anxiety. Here are tips on what to do (and practice) should your home catch on fire:
  • Crawl low to avoid inhaling any dark poisonous smoke while you reach your exit. The hot air and toxic gases will rise.
  • Before opening a door, feel the doorknob with the back of your hand (more sensitive) and the door as well to make sure it is not hot. If it is hot, that means the fire is very close and you will want to head to your secondary exit, most likely the window.
  • If you open a door, open it slowly and make sure to shut it afterwards too. This will help reduce the smoke and flames from spreading too quickly.
  • If you can't make it to someone needing assistance, leave the home and call 9-1-1. Tell dispatch that someone or a pet is still inside and where they are located.
  • If you can't get out, close all the doors and try to cover the vents and cracks around the doors the best you can with either tape or cloth. Call 9-1-1 and inform them that you can't get out and what part of the house you are in. If you have a window but it isn't safe to get out from it, place a light colored cloth (this can be clothing) outside of it so that Firefighters can find you and rescue you quickly. You can also use a flashlight or the flashlight on your smart phone to indicate your location.
  • If your clothes catch on fire, STOP, DROP, and ROLL. Cover your face when you do this to protect your airway. 

**Download and print the Have a Plan! sheet in our Safety Handouts section!

Get Out_Stay Out_Printout

After a Fire

  • Contact your local disaster relief services, such as The Red Cross, if you need temporary housing, food, and medication.
  • If you're insured, contact your insurance company for detailed instructions on protecting your property, conducting inventory, and contacting fire damage restoration companies. If you are not insured, try contacting private organizations for help.
  • Before entering your home after a fire, check with your fire department to make sure it is safe to do so. Watch out for any structural damage caused by the fire.
  • The fire department should make sure that utilities are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site. DO NOT attempt to reconnect utilities yourself.
  • Conduct an inventory of damaged property and items. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made and documented.
  • Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to fire loss. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and for verifying losses claimed on your income tax.
  • Notify your mortgage company of the fire.
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