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Guardian Adjusting Blog
Tips and information on all types of property damage claims.


Before and During a Fire

Rick Tapanes - Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fire Safety Tips That Can Save Lives

It is not just the flames that can kill in a fire. Just as dangerous, or even more so, are the smoke and heat. What makes fires even more dangerous is how quickly they can spread and get out of control. In just thirty seconds a single flame can spread to engulf an entire room. In a minute or two that room will be filled with thick black smoke, making it difficult, or even impossible, to breath or see. The temperature can get as hot as 600 degrees. At that temperature clothing will melt on to skin and the air will scorch lungs if breathed in. After five minutes, flashover can occur. This is when it gets so hot that everything not already burning ignites all at once.

Fire Escape Plans Save Lives

As you can see, all of this can happen very quickly. There is no time to rescue valuables, only to get out and help others to get out. A fire escape plan can literally save lives. Without one there will be panic, confusion and potentially deadly decisions. Take some time to prepare a plan to get your family out of the house if a fire occurs. The plan should be practiced a couple of times a year so it that could be adjusted if necessary and so that it stays fresh in everyone's mind. Make sure to cover these points when designing your escape plan:

  • Identify at least two exits out of every room. Often this will be a door and a window.
  • Check the house for any stuck windows or doors.
  • Insure that security bars in windows and doors have a quick release and that everyone in the home understands how to use them.
  • Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark.
  • Designate a meeting place outside of the home.
  • Test fire alarms monthly. Dual sensor fire alarms that detect both smoke and heat are best.
  • Check fire extinguishers monthly.
  • Clean out storage areas of flammable materials and accumulated trash like newspapers and old magazines.

Know How to React in a Fire

When a fire breaks, quickly evaluate if it can be contained. Have someone call 911 while another person tries to control the fire. If it starts to get out of control, it's time to leave the home. Put your fire escape plan into place. If you can reach others, help them get out immediately. If they cannot be reached get yourself out and call 911. Let the dispatcher know if there is anyone in the house and where in the house they are. When firefighters arrive, advise them if there is anyone still inside, including pets.

If you find yourself in a building that is on fire, try to keep as calm as possible. Panicking can lead to serious, possibly deadly mistakes. Evaluate your situation and decide on the best escape route. If you encounter heavy smoke, drop to the floor and crawl to the exit. The heavy smoke produced in a fire contains poisonous gases that can cause you to pass out. Smoke rises, so the most likely place to find breathable air is close to the ground. Check door handles before opening any interior doors. If the handle is hot, opening the door will probably let flames and smoke into the room you are in.

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