Life-Saving Tips On How To Escape A Home Fire

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) claims that 377,399 homes in the United States reported and requested help regarding house fires within the five-year period between 2015 and 2019. NFPA further shows that in 2020 alone, the number of house fires rose to 356,500 in the United States, leading to a total of 2,730 fire deaths.

The leading cause of these fires happened to be cooking and other activities inside the kitchen. There are, however, a variety of other ways a house can catch fire, like a malfunction with your home's heating system, issues with a property's electrical systems, or even an intentional action.

Unfortunately, regardless of the reason a fire may start, this atrocity can hit your home unexpectedly, which is why you and your family must be well prepared if you are ever faced with such a catastrophic event. Although we hope this unfortunate incident never happens to you, we are here to help you prepare with these life-saving tips.

Have a fire escape plan set up

As mentioned, home fires are unpredictable, but having a fire escape plan for you and your family is one of the best ways to prepare for one and help everyone escape the house safely. The U.S. Fire Administration explains that to create a fire escape plan, you should start by drawing a diagram of your house. This diagram should include all the rooms, doors, and windows that are within your home. Then, with this diagram, you should plan at least two different escape routes for each room, as well as a common meeting spot for you and your family in a safe position outside of the residence.

Once your plan has been made, it's also important to thoroughly practice it at least once a year to ensure everyone in your household is confident in an emergency, Travelers recommends. While practicing, it's also imperative that everyone follows the same movements they should be taking in the event of a real fire (for example, crawling a few inches from the ground to prevent inhaling the smoke rising).

Getting out of a burning house

Along with an escape plan for your home, PuroClean also introduces a variety of safety techniques you can utilize and practice for a fire emergency. First and foremost, if escaping the burning building is still possible, your first action should be to make it known to anyone else who may be inside that there is a fire and that they need to leave immediately. Then, if possible, you should follow one of the routes you mapped out while creating your home's fire escape plan.

Closing doors as you follow your route can also help slow the spread of the flames, potentially giving others more time to escape. As you get out, stay close to the ground and cover your mouth and nose with a damp towel or your shirt to prevent inhaling smoke. Finally, once you are out of the burning building, ensure you are in a safe position, then immediately call 911 for help.

If you are stuck inside a burning house and there is no way to escape, you should first make your presence known by opening up a window and yelling or waving something to grab someone's attention. Then, while you wait for help to arrive, seal off all open areas of the room, like vents and cracks underneath the door, to stop the fire from entering inside. Also, as you wait for help, ensure you are in a position where you can easily be located by the rescue team.

Invest in a fire escape ladder

Especially if you live in an apartment building or multi-story home, a fire ladder may be the easiest and safest escape for you and your family during a home fire. Instead of risking your and your family's lives by finding another exit plan through a burning house, a fire escape ladder can make a safe and easy getaway from the window of whichever room you happen to be stuck in.

The Economic Times explains that most fire ladders are ropes or chain ladders that are made of metal or highly-processed plastic materials, which proves that they will not catch fire during a home fire. In addition, there are a wide variety of different-sized fire ladders available for purchase in a retail store near you. An average two-story, 15-foot retractable fire escape ladder can hold a total of 1,000 pounds, per the City of Seattle's Fire Department. Ensure, however, that before you rely on this lifesaving equipment, you practice setting up and using it just as you would a regular fire escape route.

Install smoke alarms

In regards to fire safety, one of the most important appliances you should have within your home is smoke alarms. Although these alarms can not prevent a fire, they can warn you when there is a dangerous amount of smoke within your house, allowing you and your family to escape and call for help before the fire gets out of control. American Red Cross, however, recommends installing several smoke alarms throughout the house and always ensuring they are working properly.

American Red Cross further explains that smoke alarms should not only be on every level of your home but also outside of each sleeping area. This allows the alarms to detect a fire from anywhere within your property quickly. In addition, each smoke detector should also have its battery replaced at least once every year to ensure they function correctly. This way, if an unexpected circumstance ever arises, you will be warned properly, giving you and your family the best chance of survival.

Other prevention techniques

Again, home fires can start for a variety of different reasons. Although they may not all be preventable, there are a variety of prevention techniques you try to keep your home as safe as possible.

The Economic Times states the easiest way to prevent a fire from starting within your home is with the simple purchase of a fire extinguisher. Unfortunately, not all fires are the same; therefore, using water may not always work to properly extinguish the flame. However, a fire extinguisher is a multifunctional safety item that can turn off almost any type of fire before it spreads. But because owning a fire extinguisher that no one in your household knows how to use is entirely useless, when purchasing one, you must also ensure your family is trained to use it for the best outcome during an unexpected situation.

Keeping a close eye on fire hazardous items within your home can also prevent fires. For example, during the holidays, you may want to light candles as a part of your decorations. When lighting candles, however, you must ensure they are always under supervision and remain far away from flammable items, like decorations. A space heater is another example of a highly flammable object, further known as one of the biggest starters of house fires that derive from heating malfunctions; therefore, it must never be left unattended during usage.