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Smoke Detectors Give You Time To Get Out

The majority of fatal home fires strike while people are sleeping. Poisonous gases can spread quickly through a building, killing victims before they wake up. You need smoke detectors in each sleeping area, outside each sleeping area and on each additional level of your home - including the basement. Smoke detectors are inexpensive, and they can save your family's lives! Follow the installation instructions carefully. If you have questions, call the Fire Department at 234-0541. Landlords are required by law to have properly operating smoke detectors in all residential rental property. If you rent and the property does not have a functioning smoke detector, call the Fire Department at 234-0541 and ask to speak to the Fire Marshal.

Make an escape plan
With a fire burning in your home, you may have to contend with fear, darkness, confusion, even blinding smoke and searing heat. If you plan and practice now, you and your family will know what to do in a real emergency. Sit down with your family today and plan how to escape in case of fire.

Know two ways out
Draw a diagram of your home. Plan two ways out of every room, especially bedrooms. If one of your escape routes must go out a second-story window, be sure you have a safe way to reach the ground. Make special arrangements for small children and people with disabilities.

In an apartment or office building
Use stairways to leave the building. Never use an elevator during a fire; it may stop between floors. Or even take you to the floor where the fire is burning!

Get out fast!
In case of a fire, don't stop for anything. Do not try to take possessions or pets. Just get out. Call the fire department from a neighbor's phone after you are out.

Don't go back, no matter what
Make sure everyone in your family knows that once they are out, they must not go back for any reason. If people are trapped, fire fighters have the best chance of rescuing them.

Choose a meeting place
Everyone should gather at one meeting place outside, preferably at the front, where the fire department will arrive. Each family member should know how to call 911 from a neighbor's home. Designate one person to make the call while the others wait at the meeting place.

Practice your plan
At least twice a year, have a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone as the monitor, to sound the alarm and make sure everyone participates. Because the majority of fatal fires occur when people are sleeping, start the drill by going to your bedroom, closing the door, and waiting for the monitor to sound the alarm. Remember, a fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly but carefully!

Test every door
Before opening a door, make sure there's no fire on the other side. Kneeling or crouching at the door, reach up high and use the back of your hand to touch the door, the door knob, and the space between the door and the frame. If any of these feels hot, use your second way out. If everything feels cool, brace your shoulder against the door and open it carefully. Be ready to slam it shut if heat or smoke rushes in. As you leave, close all doors behind you. They can slow down the spread of fire and smoke.

Crawl low under smoke
Smoke contains deadly gases and is hot, so it will rise to fill the room from the top down. If you must escape through an area with smoke, the best air will be 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) off the floor. Get down on your hands and knees and crawl quickly to the exit.

Expect the unexpected
Once everyone knows the basic plan, practice it in the dark. Pretend that smoke is blocking one escape route and make sure your family knows how to use their alternate routes. Make sure everyone can unlock all locks and open all windows and doors quickly, even in the dark.

If you are trapped
Close doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around doors and cover vents to keep smoke out. Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight, if you have one, or by waving a sheet or other light-colored cloth. If there's a phone in the room where you're trapped, call the fire department and tell them exactly where you are.

At work and on the road, plan to escape
Make fire safety a habit. Identify fire escape routes wherever you are. Where you work or when you travel... look around and find two ways out in case of fire.