Be Prepared

Be Prepared for Home Fires

Why Do Fires Happen?

  • Carelessness causes fires. People just don't pay attention to the little details of safety . Some are negligent and reckless with things that they know are dangerous.
  • Ignorance Causes Fires. Some people simply don't know how to use fire safely. They have not been taught about fire hazards and what they can do to prevent a fire. Most importantly, they don't know what to do in an emergency which involved a fire. Ignorance concerning fire safety is one problem the fire service can overcome through public education.
  • Apathy Causes Fire. Apathy is nothing but an attitude of indifference. "I know, but I don't care." This is a very difficult problem to deal with. In order to change an attitude, the person must be made aware that fire can maim or kill them or the ones they care about. Each person must understand their responsibility to others as well as to themselves. It is not enough to know about the danger of fire--one must also care.
  • Arson Causes Fire. Arson, or fires with are intentionally set, is an ever growing problem nationwide. Although this type of fire problem is handled by the Fire Prevention Bureau or state or local law enforcement agencies, the firefighter should be aware of his role in it. Programs are presented in many areas in an effort to combat this problem. You can certainly include information such a local statistics in fire education programs.
  • Facts Without Acts Are Failures. It must be remembered that we can only save that which is not already lost.

Home Escape Plans

All schools and many workplaces have a fire escape plan. Why should your home be any different? Have a home fire escape plan.

  • Plan at least two escape routes from your home.
  • If a window is to be used, make sure it will open.
  • Set a meeting place outdoors, so you will know that everyone is safe.
  • Teach children not to hide in closets, under beds, or behind, under, or inside of furniture.
  • To stay safe, remember EDITH (Exit Drills In The Home).
  • If your place of work or the hotel where you are staying does not have a fire escape plan, take time to find the nearest emergency exit. Look for a second way out in case the first exit is blocked. These few seconds of planning could save your life.



Touch a closed door before opening. If it is hot, don't open it, flames and smoke will rush into the room.

  • If you cannot escape, stay be an open window and signal for help. If you can, call the fire department and tell them where you are trapped.
  • Crawl through smoke to avoid breathing deadly vapors. Fresh air stays a few inches above the floor.
  • Go directly to a predetermined meeting place.
  • Always get out first, then call the fire department.
  • Do not go back in for any reason, personal belongings can be replaced, your life can not.



When fire strikes, time is of the utmost importance. Quick reporting could help to save a life.

  • Keep the emergency number posted near your telephone. In many cases the number is 9-1-1.
  • Teach children the number, but to use it only in an emergency.
  • Know the location and proper use of the nearest fire alarm box.
  • After reporting a fire, stay at a safe distance to direct the fire department when they arrive.



  • Locate stairways and fire alarms in case fire should strike.
  • If fire breaks out, do not use the elevators. If the electric power would fail, the elevators will become stuck. They could also be heat sensitive and travel to the hottest part of the building.
  • If you can not escape, place wet towels across the bottom of the door to keep smoke out.
  • Then stay by an open window and signal for help.



More people are killed or injured by smoke than any other fire related reason. If you are caught in smoke, get as low as you can to the floor and crawl out. There are fewer toxic fumes and less heat near the floor. If you cannot get out, close the doors between you and the smoke. Use any available wet cloth or rags to seal the cracks around the door. Signal for help from a window, if you can stay low until help arrives.