Each year more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires in the United States, with direct property loss due to home fires estimated at $7.3 billion annually. Is your family prepared for a fire? It’s important to think about potentially life threatening situations like this, hatch a plan, then discuss and practice your plan and review yearly with the family.
- Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
- Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
- Check with your local fire department on the legality of kerosene heater use in your community.
- Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.
- Have fire extinguishers serviced yearly and make sure you know how to use them properly
- Find two ways to leave each room if possible
- Make sure windows, screens and safety bars can be easily opened or removed
- Practice feeling your way out in the dark. Fire is dark, not bright. You will not be able to see through the smoke.
- Make sure smoke detectors are working properly
- Ask your local fire department to inspect your home for safety and prevention
- Keep children 3 ft from cooking area
- Stay in kitchen while cooking, or turn off stove if you need to leave
- Do not cook if you’ve been drinking heavily, are sleepy or drowsy from medication
- Smoke outside
- Keep grills 10 ft away from deck rails or sides of home
- Check for frayed wires and don’t overload extension cords
During the Fire:
- Crawl low under any smoke to your exit – heavy smoke and poisonous gases rise to the ceiling.
- When the smoke alarm sounds, get out fast. You may have only seconds to escape safely.
- If there is smoke blocking your door or first way out, use your second way out.
- Smoke is toxic. If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your way out.
- Before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If either is hot, leave the door closed and use your second way out.
- If there is smoke coming around the door, leave the door closed and use your second way out.
- If you open a door, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.
- If you can’t get to someone needing assistance, leave the home and call 9-1-1 or the fire department. Tell the emergency operator where the person is located.
- If pets are trapped inside your home, tell firefighters right away.
- If you can’t get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with cloth or tape to keep smoke out. Call 9-1-1 or your fire department. Say where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.
- If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll – stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out. If you or someone else cannot stop, drop, and roll, smother the flames with a blanket or towel. Use cool water to treat the burn immediately for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Get medical help right away by calling 9-1-1 or the fire department.
What to do after a fire:
- Contact your local disaster relief service, such as The Red Cross, if you need temporary housing, food and medicines.
- If you are insured, contact your insurance company for detailed instructions on protecting the property, conducting inventory and contacting fire damage restoration companies. If you are not insured, try contacting private organizations for aid and assistance.
- Conduct an inventory of damaged property and items. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made.
- Try to locate valuable documents and records.
- 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 income tax.
- Notify your mortgage company of the fire.
- Check with an accountant or the Internal Revenue Service about special benefits for people recovering from fire loss.
To learn more about how you can protect your home, please contact:
Shillington, PA 19607