Each year more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires in the United States. But unlike other disasters, home fires can be prevented! It's important to know this: Fire is fast! There is no time to gather anything or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire could kill you. In five minutes, a house could be swallowed in flames.
Fire is hot! Heat and smoke could be even more dangerous than the flames. Breathing in really hot air could burn your lungs, and fire produces poisonous gases that can make you sleepy and unable to escape. Fire is dark! It can be hard to find your way out of your house in a fire. Fire is deadly! Fire uses up oxygen you need to breathe and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill.
Smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Smoke Detector Tips:
- Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
- It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
- Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement.
- Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
- There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in the home.
- A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
Tips to Stay Safe
Create a fire escape plan and practice it twice a year
- 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.
- Find two ways to get out of each room. A window might be a second way if the door is blocked by fire or smoke.
- Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
- Sleep with your door closed. It helps prevent fires from spreading quickly.
- 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.
- 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.