By Anna Demetree
There are many ways a fire can be started in your home, so it’s important that you’re educated on what to do in case it occurs. Fire prevention is obviously the best way to stay safe. That said, if a fire starts, knowing what to do in this dangerous situation can be a matter of life or death.
1. Grab the Fire Extinguisher
If you see the fire spark or hear the smoke alarm go off, you may be able to contain it with the fire extinguisher. Maybe a pan on the stove caught on fire or a candle fell over. Either way, if you’re able to put it out with an extinguisher, do so as fast as you can. Remember to use the PASS procedure when using a fire extinguisher. If the fire is too large and the extinguisher doesn’t completely curb it, leave the scene immediately.
2. Alert Other Members in the House That There’s a Fire
Sometimes, smoke alarms malfunction and don’t go off. The last thing you want to happen is for you or others to get trapped inside before it’s too late. Shout as loudly as you can and inform everyone of the situation so that they can get out of the house immediately.
3. Check Doorknobs for Heat
If you need to go through a door when exiting the property, quickly touch the doorknob to check if it’s hot. If the knob is warm, it’s most likely unsafe to open. There may be roaring flames on the other side that you don’t want to walk through. Find a different exit to leave safely.
4. Cover Your Nose
To prevent smoke from entering your lungs, cover your nose with your shirt or a towel. The smoke and poisonous gas produced from a fire can cause unconsciousness, so protect your lungs by covering your nostrils as you exit the property.
5. Stop, Drop and Roll
If your clothes catch fire, DO NOT RUN. Stop moving, drop to the floor and roll around until the fire on your clothing has extinguished. It may go against your instincts not to run away hysterically and is probably terrifying to see yourself on fire, but remember to stay calm and stop, drop and roll. Cover your nose and mouth with your hands while you roll to prevent smoke from entering your lungs.
6. Call 911
Do this once you are away from the property and in a safe place. Don’t run all over the house searching for your cell phone because there’s a chance of you getting caught up in the fire or getting trapped. Ask other members in the house or a neighbor to borrow their phone once you are out of the house.
7. Make Sure You Have Homeowners Insurance and That Your Policy is Up to Date.
It protects you financially if an unexpected incident happens to your home or possessions. Since your home and the possessions inside of it are significant investments, it would be extremely costly to replace all of it without insurance. Having insurance also helps pay liability protection and medical coverage if a guest in your home is injured. If your house is vandalized, insurance can recover your losses and help pay for repairs. These incidents are all unfortunate, but you could be a victim of one of them. It’s essential to make sure that you and your home are protected.
“To help make a fire claim go smoother,” explains agent Janet Payne, “I’d advise taking pictures or a video of each room, in drawers, closets, etc., and uploading those pictures to a cloud software or a thumb drive and keeping that somewhere outside of the home. This resource will help you tremendously when you’re trying to create an inventory list of all the contents you’ve lost in your home once they are gone.”