It may seem like a simple subject, but with all the turkeys in the oven tomorrow, drinking and general carrying on, we want to make sure everyone has the rules fresh in their mind for escaping a house fire. These are some very simple steps that can save lives—and they have.
In the U.S. alone, more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires every year, with direct property loss estimated at $7.3 billion annually. And the sad fact is, home fires can be prevented!
In order to protect yourself, it is essential to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. (Or post to Facebook or tweet “My house is on fire!”) In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames and there’s no escape.
Heat and smoke can be even more dangerous than the flames in a house fire. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy, so instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. This is why we so often emphasize smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors! Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by over 30 percent.
Use these tips if you are caught in an Orange County house fire:
- Crawl low under any smoke to your exit – heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along 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. (That requires having a backup plan!)
- 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.
Call us immediately after emergency services – don’t wait. We can help turn this tragedy around and get you back in your Orange County home, as it was before the fire, as quickly and smoothly as possible. We will help deal with your insurance claim—we deal with every major insurance company out there, and know just what to do. Don’t let a Thanksgiving fire ruin this holiday, and the ones coming in December. Our specialists are standing by 24/7. Fire doesn’t take the holidays off, and neither do we.