Before a Fire

Plan for a Fire Before it Occurs


  • Know the location of exits.
  • Recognize the sound of the alarm.
  • Know how to activate the alarm (usually located at exits).
  • Know how to notify the fire department. Have a meeting place outside.
  • Participate in fire drills, and know your plan.

If You Discover a Fire


  • Sound the alarm and exit.
  • Close all doors behind you, especially doors behind fire.
  • Proceed directly to safest exit.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Leave the building.

Exit Drills


  • Develop a Fire Escape Plan, and practice the drill (most don't, because they don't have a plan). Know how to activate the alarm.
  • Know the location of fire extinguishers and how to use them.
  • Have two avenues of escape.
  • Know your emergency numbers.
  • Designate a safe meeting place.
  • Where is your nearest fire hydrant? Is it snowed over?
  • Once you are out, stay out!
  • When the smoke detector sounds, you have less than four minutes to get out.
  • Most who die in fires die of smoke inhalation.
  • Fire itself is a serious hazard.
  • Fire frequently generates temperatures to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remember, water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Most foods cook at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • There is always the possibility of flash-over.
  • As well as carbon monoxide, there are many toxic gases.
  • The longer you stay in, the more your judgment will be impaired.

What to Do If Your Escape Route Is Blocked by Fire or Smoke


  • Crawl low in smoke, and try to hold your breath.

If Trapped in a Room


  • Feel doors with the back of your hand to test for heat. If no heat, open the door cautiously.
  • Close all doors behind you.
  • Seal cracks around doors and windows (a wet towel will work).
  • Signal at window to rescuers.
  • Open outside windows at top and bottom.
  • Shut off fans and air conditioners.