During A Fire
During A Fire
Stacy Gerlich (Fire Captain & Paramedic) gives expert video advice on: What do I do if I hear my smoke detector alarm?; How do I breathe if I am enveloped in smoke during a fire?; What do I do if I am trapped in my room during a fire? and more...
What do I do if I hear my smoke detector alarm?
If you hear your smoke detector or your alarm going off, the first thing you want to do is make sure that you get out of bed. If your door is closed, feel the door for heat. If you feel down towards the bottom of the door and it's really cool, that is good. Open it slowly. Make sure that you get yourself out, and when you've got yourself out of the house, and if you have other people that you need to get out of the house as well, go through yelling to make sure that people are hearing you. Again, primarily they'll happen at night-time when we are asleep. Wake people up, and get the kids. Get out of the house and then call 911, either via a cell phone or a neighbors house. Once you've made that call and you have got your resources coming, make sure you do an assessment. Check yourselves out, check your family members out. Make sure there are no injuries, and if there are, do what you can to address that. When the Fire Department gets there, you can ask for direction, and we'll be asking and helping you as well.
What do I do if my exit is surrounded by fire?
You should always have two means of exit, even in your home - meaning that you primarily would come in and out of the front door. That is where we're going to go, if something happened we would try to go out of the front door. However, if we can't get out the front door, what is our secondary escape route? Is it a window? Is it a different door? These are the things that go back to that planning process.
What do I do if a closed door is hot during a fire?
If you feel a door and it's hot, it's signifying to you there's pretty good heat on the other side, so don't open it. Put something down to prevent that smoke from coming up underneath the door - a towel, anything that you can find. If there is a window, go over to the window and try to get out of the house that way. If you have a two story house you should have a ladder, an escape ladder that you can throw out in case something like this happens. If not, then you can take a sheet or something white preferably and hang it off of there which helps to signify that you need help when the first responders get there.
What do I do if a closed door is cool during a fire?
If you feel the door, and it is cool, you can open it slowly, take a look on the other side, and see what the conditions are. If you have a lot of smoke but it's banked up towards the ceiling area, stay lower to the ground and crawl. Get yourself out of that particular structure and call 911.
What do I do if I am in a hotel during a fire?
I have made a lot of reference to planning. If you travel and stay in a hotel, here are some things to think about. Number one, the aerial ladder or the big extension ladder on the fire truck is about 100 feet. If you figure out 12 feet a floor (I personally dont stay above the 7th floor, because I know the ladder probably wont reach), then you have to factor in how close to the building they can get, and things of that nature. One of most common errors that people make is that we use the elevators, and go up to our floor and have no idea where the stairwells are located. When you are in a hotel, you need to locate the stairwells on either side of your room and count how many doors from that stairwell you are, so that in the event of an emergency and evacuation, if it's filled with smoke and you can't see, and you don't have a flashlight, then you can simply put your hand on the doors and count, and know where you need to go to find that stairwell for safety.
What do I do if I am at school during a fire?
If you are at school during a fire, you're dependant upon the school itself, and the plans they have in place. Once a year, you do a fire drill and need to make sure that you go to the specific area that's designated for your classroom, and that's because there's an accountability issue. Your teacher and the principal are going to show up, and they are going to start looking for all of the students that are supposed to be in that room during that particular day and time. Listen to the administrator for direction, and don't leave the campus.
What do I do if I am in a high-rise building during a fire?
High-rise is similar to a hotel. In a disaster or an emergency, you're not going to use the elevators, so you need to know where the stairwells are located. Secondly, if you work in a high-rise building, you have to partake in an evacuation drill once a year. You also need to remember that it is important to know where the stairwells will let you out once you exit the building, because they're going to let you out on different sites as well as different areas. Some of them may not be very common to you. The preplanning is vital: find out where the stairwells are and where they go.
What do I do if I am trapped in my room during a fire?
Being trapped in a room, being trapped in a house, being trapped in a hotel - they are all somewhat similar. Again, try to prevent smoke from coming into the room. Put something underneath the opening of the door and the floor. Do what you can to get yourself to an area where people would be able to hear you, or see you, so that they can help facilitate getting you out.
What do I do if I need to escape from the second floor window during a fire?
Escaping out of a window above the first level would require a ladder, if you had one. If you didn't, and you feel the absolute necessity to leave that room, hopefully there's a ledge. If there is a ledge, you can get yourself out onto the ledge facing the building. Often, if you were to hang your feet, the length of your body is going to take you closer to the ground, and you could potentially let go and fall to safety. The truth of the matter is that you're a lot safer staying put and trying again to compartmentalize: Close doors between you and the fire. Prevent the smoke from coming into the room, by putting something at the bottom of the door and the floor so that smoke doesn't seep through, and by putting something over your nose and your mouth so that you're filtering the air.
What do I do once I exit safely from a burning building?
If it is a high-rise work related area, check in with your floor warden so that they are not sending people in after you. Find out ahead of time who the warden is, through your human resources. If you are in a single family home, first make sure that you and your family are okay, call 911, and get away from the structure.