What Should I Do in the Event of a House Fire?

February 24, 2023

Did you know that house fires are one of the leading causes of death in the United States? According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are an average of 350,000 house fires each year. These fires result in over $11 billion in damage and claim the lives of over 3000 people.

A house fire can be a terrifying experience. If you are like most people, you probably have no idea what to do if your house catches on fire. Most people will try to put the fire out themselves, but this is not always the best course of action. 

In this blog post, we will discuss what to do in the event of a house fire. We will provide tips on how to stay safe and minimize damage to your home.

Evacuate Immediately

When a fire erupts, the first thing many try to do is to contain it. They start following their instinct in putting out the fire such as pouring water over it or smothering it with a wet rag. While this can work on a small scale fire, there are types of fire that can immediately spread and cannot as quickly be extinguished. When you are faced with this, your priority is to evacuate immediately.

evacuation from fire zone

It will be best if you have a fire evacuation plan beforehand because this will help your exit from the burning premises seamlessly and fast. No matter how tempting, never prioritize saving your valuables during an incident of fire. You can do more help from outside the burning place than stuck inside it. This would even allow firefighters to have undivided attention towards putting out the fire and saving as much of your property as possible.

Know Your Exits

Joining fire drills can help you familiarize yourself with the fastest route to safety in case of fire. These can also help you stay focused and less panicked when the actual disaster comes.
Know all the exits available to you. But never rush to open just any door especially if the doorknob is hot and you see smoke coming from the gaps around it. This can mean that the door may be blocking the fire that has already progressed on its other side.

Only when you sense that the door is safe should you attempt to open it. Otherwise, there may be a need for you to find another exit.

If there are no other doors, then you may find yourself wanting to escape through the window. However, you may want to leave this unless you have no other way because breaking a window can aggravate the fire. It may even lead you to have little to no chance of survival.

If you are inside a high-rise building in case of fire, you should also steer away from lifts. It may be the fastest way to leave the building during a regular day, but when there is fire, this can be a trap machine, especially when the power suddenly runs out. Use the stairs instead.

As you look for a way out, it can also help if you have a fire extinguisher on hand and you have the knowledge of how to use it. This may be your best shot at getting out of a burning building alive.

Stay Low

During incidents of a home fire, to catch fire is not the only source of danger. There are also the perils of smoke inhalation. As such, when a fire occurs, it is important to steer clear of areas with a lot of smoke and do everything to prevent yourself from inhaling it.

Smoke naturally billows up when there is fire. It accumulates in the highest part of the room first until it gets too much. Because of this, you will be much safer crouching or crawling low to the ground as you find your way to the nearest exit especially when the room is fast filling with smoke.

By covering your mouth and nose using a wet cloth, you can also lessen the possibility of inhaling toxic smoke. However, this is not a long-term solution so it is still best that you find a way outside of the smoke-filled room ASAP before you get disoriented or worse – faint.

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Your clothes are not fireproof. Thus, it is not impossible that your clothes catch fire as you navigate your exit from a burning house.

Your instinct will tell you to remove your clothes when this happens. Unfortunately, this is not as easy to do and might even lead to the rapid spread of the fire on your clothes. You will have a better chance of saving yourself from getting burnt by stopping, dropping to the floor, and rolling over repeatedly until the fire is gone. Do this while protecting your face with your arms.

how to stop, drop and roll

Wait until you are in a safe location before you check out the damage. Hold the burned area under cool running water and seek medical help immediately.

Call Help

Getting yourself to a safe location is a priority during home fires. Do not try to fight the fire yourself. Do not go back inside for any reason especially to save your valuables. Instead, call 911 or the local fire department.

If someone is still inside the house, including your pets and family members, do not try to re-enter your burning home to save them. Instead, inform the firefighters upon their arrival including the possible location of your loved ones. Only they have the training and tools to help save your loved ones from a dangerous situation such as a house fire.

Insisting on putting yourself in danger by trying to fight the fire or rescue someone from the house will just hold these trained professionals back from their job. You can be of help by staying put and keeping yourself safe.

Following the above tips will help you stay safe when a house fire ensues. It will also assist in lessening the devastating after-effects of a house fire.

Alex Bradley

Written by

Alex Bradley

Multitasking guru who’s not just wrangling words as a witty blogger, but also juggling the roles of a husband, dad, and dutiful son to an age-defying parent. With a keyboard in one hand and a toolbox of tech gadgets in the other, Alex weaves playful blog posts that crack open the world of senior-friendly gizmos. Drawing inspiration from his family adventures and late-night “Eureka!” moments, his posts are your compass to navigate the realm of safety-enhancing and smile-inducing devices for the golden-aged generation.