Accidents happen when you least expect them. That's why knowing ahead of time
what to do before, during, and after an emergency is invaluable. On the
following pages, you will find safety tips excerpted from lists compiled by
leading safety organizations. Read them, print them out, give them to family
and friends. They may make all the difference.
(Note: NOVA Online makes no guarantee as to, and assumes no responsibility for,
the correctness, sufficiency, or completeness of the information below. For
more complete information, contact the source organization at the head of each
Have A Sound Escape Plan
Practice Escaping From Every Room In The Home
- In the event of a fire, remember: time is the biggest enemy and every second counts!
- Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire.
- It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames.
Security Bars Require Special Precautions
- Practice escape plans every month.
- The best plans have two ways to get out of each room. If the primary way
is blocked by fire or smoke, you will need a second way out.
- A secondary route might be a window onto an adjacent roof or using an
Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approved collapsible ladder for escape from upper
- Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly,
and that security bars can be properly opened. Also, practice feeling your way
out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
Immediately Leave The Home
- Security bars may help to keep your family safe from intruders, but they
can also trap you in a deadly fire!
- Windows and doors with security bars must have quick release devices to
allow them to be opened immediately in an emergency.
- Make sure everyone in the family understands and practices how to
properly operate and open locked or barred doors and windows.
Never Open Doors That Are Hot To The Touch
- When a fire occurs, do not waste any time saving property.
- Take the safest exit route, but if you must escape through smoke,
remember to crawl low, under the smoke and keep your mouth covered. The smoke
contains toxic gases, which can disorient you or, at worst, overcome you.
Designate A Meeting Place Outside and Take Attendance
- When you come to a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top
of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and door frame to
make sure that fire is not on the other side.
- If it feels hot, use your secondary escape route.
- Even if the door feels cool, open it carefully. Brace your shoulder
against the door and open it slowly.
- If heat and smoke come in, slam the door and make sure it is securely
closed, then use your alternate escape route.
Once Out, Stay Out
- Designate a meeting location away from the home, but not necessarily
across the street. For example, meet under a specific tree or at the end of the
driveway or front sidewalk to make sure everyone has gotten out safely and no
one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe.
- Designate one person to go to a neighbor's home to phone the fire
- Remember to escape first, then notify the fire department using the 911
system or proper local emergency number in your area.
- Never go back into a burning building for any reason.
- Teach children not to hide from firefighters.
- If someone is missing, tell the firefighters. They are equipped to
perform rescues safely.
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© | Updated November 2000