Last Updated: 11/24/2014

Home Fire Emergency Planning

  The first part of Home Fire Emergency Planning is to have a plan. This sounds like a no brainer, but many families have no plan on what to do if there is a fire in the house! The WHOLE family should be part of the planning so EVERYONE in the house knows what to do.


           I.      Have WORKING smoke detectors

          II.     Get Out and Stay Out

         III.    Have two (2) ways out of each bedroom

         IV.   Crawl out

          V.     Meet at a prearranged meeting place

        VI.   Call 911 from a cell or neighbors phone

       VII.  Stay out of the way

      VIII. Some other things to consider

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         I.      Have WORKING smoke detectors

                   - Not only must you have smoke detectors in the house, they must work!! If they don’t work, or you don’t have them you may not know there is a fire in the house, especially when everyone is asleep. They should be tested monthly. After 10 years the detectors should be replaced. That's 10 years FROM DATE OF MANUFACTURE, not from when you bought, or installed! NEVER BORROW THE BATTERIES IN THE SMOKE DETECTORS FOR ANYTHING ELSE!! The batteries should be changed at least once a year. There are several ways to remember when to change the batteries. 1) Give your smoke detectors a present for the December holidays. 2) Give your smoke detectors new batteries for the New Year. 3) Change the batteries whenever you change the clocks for daylight savings time. 4) Use whatever reminds you to change the batteries at least once a year.

         II.     When the smoke detectors “go off” Get Out and Stay Out

                   - You need to get out of the house and stay out. Yell FIRE!! to wake up everyone else in the house. If possible, it is best to sleep with your bedroom doors closed. This keeps the smoke out of the bedroom for longer. It is usually the smoke the kills in a fire! BEFORE you open the bedroom door touch if with the BACK OF YOUR HAND to make sure it isn’t hot. You use the back of your hand as it's more sensitive and if you DO get burned you will still be able to crawl and/or climb ladders. If it is HOT do NOT OPEN THE DOOR!! There is probably fire on the other side!!

         III.    Have two (2) ways out of each bedroom

                  - In case the door is hot to your touch you need a second way out. Hiding under the bed, in a closet, or anywhere is NOT TO BE DONE! There should be a window that you can exit safely, or at least be near so you can be seen and heard. Open the window and yell so you will be noticed!!

         IV.   If there is smoke Crawl out

                   - You crawl out for two (2) reasons. One, so you don’t breath the smoke. Remember it is the smoke that usually kills. Smoke is hot and will go toward the ceiling. Two, you can’t see through smoke. Because of these reasons a fireman coming into the house will also crawl in, even though he carries his own air in a “bottle” on his back and has very bright lights. As we teach our firefighters "Stay Low and Go"

         V.     Meet at a prearranged meeting place

                   - Everyone in the house should meet at a prearranged meeting place AWAY from the house. This can be the mailbox, if it isn’t attached to the house, an easy to find tree, the end of the driveway, etc. The reason you all meet at the same spot is to be able to check to make sure everyone is out! If everyone is NOT out DO NOT GO BACK IN!! Get Out and Stay Out!! Do not go back in even for a pet, favorite toy, or anything!!!

         VI.   Call 911 from a cell or neighbors phone

                   - Call 911 from OUTSIDE the house. Give your address with house number and street. If know give nearest cross streets and township. If there was someone that didn’t make it to the meeting place, let the 911 operator know this.

         VII.  Stay out of the way

                   - There will be a lot of fast moving vehicles and people arriving, stay out of their way. Let them know if there was someone that didn’t make it to the meeting place.

  If, while getting out of the house, your clothing caught fire, STOP, DROP, AND ROLL! You want to STOP because running will “fan” the flames making them bigger. You DROP to the ground so you can roll. Cover your face with your hands to keep flames, smoke, and dirt out of your eyes and mouth. ROLL. You roll as this will smother the flames. If someone has a blanket or coat, throw this over the person as that will assist in smothering the flames.

  You should go over this plan with everyone in the house, even practicing going outside and meeting at the meeting place. You do this for the same reason schools and businesses do fire drills, so everyone knows what to do if a fire occurs!!

Some other things to consider

  Can the responding fire, police, ambulance find the house. Many of the houses in the area are set way back from the road making it impossible to see the house. House numbers on the front of the house, back off the road, can’t be seen. While the cedar post with brass house number does look nice, after a couple of years the post and brass change color and end up hard to see and read during the day. At night, especially during a rain storm, the house numbers can become impossible to read. Putting the house numbers on your front door can look nice BUT if you open the door, they can’t be seen. We sell a Reflective House Marker that makes it MUCH easier to find your house. Most of the fire companies in the area now sell the same type of sign. They can also be purchased at some local hardware and home centers. We STRONGLY recommend that you purchase and install such a sign.

  Can 9-1-1 effectively reach you in case of emergency? You need to know that fire trucks of today are much larger than anything built years ago. You need to ask yourself: Can the ladders reach to my top floor?  Will any little bridge on my property hold a 17 ton fire truck? Is my curvy driveway wide enough to allow for fire apparatus 9 feet wide and 30 feet long? Are the tree limbs cut high enough to allow for a unit with a 12 foot clearance? Hose lines stretched extensive lengths are not safe or effective for interior fire crews, and the time delays in stretching all that extra hose could cost you dearly.

  Please take the time and honestly evaluate your home's access from the street. If you would like to arrange for a fire department officer to assist you, please contact the fire company that services the area in which you live.

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