Property damage restoration company offers tips to escape a house fire. A residential fire is the worst type of fire outbreak because it affects the whole family. A house fire breaks out every 86 seconds, and seconds are all the occupants have to escape the flames. The Underwriters Laboratories, which conducts state-of-the-art fire safety testing, says three minutes or less is the time window to escape a house fire.
The National Fire Protection Association noted that, in 2018, there were 363,000 house fires. That same year saw 3,655 fatalities resulting from all structural fires. Of these 3,655 fire fatalities, 2,720, or 74 percent of all fire deaths, occurred in the home.
Fire safety statistics show the following hard facts: “Every day, at least one child dies in a home fire and another 293 children are injured from fires or burns. Ninety percent of all fire-related deaths are due to home fires. Home fires can spread rapidly and leave families as little as two minutes to escape after an alarm has sounded. Children under 5 years of age are at the greatest risk from home fire death and injury; their death rate is nearly twice the national average. Each year, nearly 488 children ages 14 and under die in home fires, and another 116,600 children are injured from a fire/burn related incident.”
How are family pets affected by house fires? The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports, “About 40,000 pets die in residential fires each year, most from smoke inhalation, and 500,000 pets are affected overall.” Pet owners should be aware that pets also cause about 1,000 house fires a year.
Make a Plan to Protect Loved Ones
Having a Fire Escape Plan is a necessity for everyone who lives in a house or an apartment, especially if children or older adults are present. According to the American Red Cross, only 26% of Americans have a fire escape plan, and young children and older adults are twice as likely to perish in a house fire as the general population.
Eight House Fire Survival Tips
Create a Fire Escape Plan
The National Fire Protection Association offers free resources to help compose a fire escape plan. A formal, well-thought-out Fire Escape Plan should clearly describe evacuation routes and exits, and identify a meetup location that is a safe distance from the home. Designate a fire escape team leader. Provide instructions on how to contact the fire department for help.
Invest in Fire Safety Equipment
Safety equipment includes rope ladders, fire extinguishers, and smoke alarms. If the home has an upstairs or high windows, place fire escape ladders at each window or upper-level deck. Rope ladders should be durable and of high-quality so that they can withstand an emergency escape from a higher story. Purchase multiple fire extinguishers and place them in the master bedroom, the kitchen, the living room, the bathrooms, and throughout the home. Install and test smoke alarms. While most homes already have smoke alarms, homes that do not have any alarms should have them installed immediately at every level and in each major room of the house. Test the alarms monthly, and quickly repair or replace defective units. The risk of dying in reported house fires is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.
Test Doors for Heat Before Opening
A well-known tip for surviving a house fire is to check a door for heat before opening it. Is there any smoke filtering through the cracks between the door and the wall or floor? Is the door warm or hot? If there is no smoke filtering through and if the door is neither hot nor warm, open the door slightly and look for any signs of fire. If no signs of fire are seen, it should be safe to cautiously exit through the door.
Stay Low to the Ground
The freshest air is near the floor, so stay low to the floor when escaping. Thick smoke may require an escaping family to crawl.
Cover the Mouth and Nose With a Wet Rag or Shirt
In a house fire, smoke often presents the greatest danger. Many people pass out from smoke inhalation and are overcome by the flames. People should cover their mouth and nose with a rag, towel, or piece of clothing, soaking the makeshift mask with water, if possible.
Do Not Re-Enter the Home After Escaping
Once everyone has safely left the burning home, stay outside. Nothing is more valuable than a life. If someone is still in the home, let the professional fire crew handle the situation. Inform the fire crew of the missing person, and hope and pray for the best.
Place Emergency Kits Near Each Exit
Make several kits with extra clothing, cash, first aid supplies, important names, and telephone numbers, or even thumb drives loaded with essential files. If possible, store a kit on the property but away from the residence. First responders will arrive and assess injuries, burns, or complications from smoke inhalation. Until help arrives, the designated team leader should check everyone for injuries, burns, or shock.
Schedule practice sessions. Frequently practicing the Fire Escape Plan will reduce stress, increase reaction time, strengthen quick decision-making, and improve muscle memory. If there are children in the home, incentivize or gamify the practice sessions.
Surviving a house fire requires planning, preparation, and practice. Dealing with the aftermath of a fire is almost as traumatic as the fire itself, even if no one is injured. After a residential fire, it is essential to have an ally who can help families restore a sense of normalcy.
If a house fire occurs, call the fire and water damage restoration specialists at All Nation Restoration in Austin, TX. The team of highly trained professionals is on call 24/7. The highly skilled and certified technicians at All Nation Restoration are equipped with fire damage restoration equipment to take special care of the property and possessions. The All Nation Restoration team walks with clients through every step of the property damage restoration project.