Fire is fast, in less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and can turn into a major fire.  It only takes a minute for thick black smoke to fill a house.  Most fires occur at night when everyone is asleep.  If you wake up to a fire the only thing you will have time for is to escape.

The heat from fire alone can kill; room temperature can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level.  Inhaling this hot air will scorch your lungs; the heat can also melt the clothes to your skin.

Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, including the basement.  For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside the sleeping area.  Smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or on the sidewalls six to eight inches below the ceiling.  It is important to change the batteries in smoke detectors at least once a year.  Smoke detectors should be tested monthly to make sure they are working properly.

Every household should have a fire escape plan to help the family get out of the house safely and quickly in the event of a fire.  Fire escape plans should be made with every member of the family present and should be practiced two or three times a year.

The following are important tips that should be included in the fire escape plan:

Before opening any door in a fire, feel it first.  If it is hot, there may be fire on the other side.  Try to get out another way.

Crawl low on the floor to avoid heat and smoke.

Make sure your fire escape plan has two ways out of every room.

Pick a safe and easy to remember place outside the home to meet the rest of the family.

Call 9-1-1 after escaping from the fire.

Stay outside no matter what, don’t go back for anything.

For more information about fire safety, visit The United States Fire Administration.