Let’s say that even after taking fire prevention measures, you unfortunately find yourself in a fire situation. Below are some of the steps that you need to follow to get yourself and your loved ones out of this troublesome situation.
To deal with any adverse situation, you always need to have a firm plan beforehand. So, a contingency plan to escape in a fire accident is a must for every home. This should include drawing a map of your home and planning different escape routes. You should also plan against several different fire scenarios and the best route to get out safely for each scenario.
Always keep in mind to have more than one exit plan because fires can be unpredictable and could block your intended route.
After making a proper plan of how to cope in any fire accident, perform practice drills as well. Practicing drills of different scenarios will help you become better prepared in case of an emergency. Keep in mind that fire and smoke hamper visibility, so your drill should be practiced with different lighting and as if there was a real fire present (e.g., crouching/crawling to safety to stay below the smoke, placing hands on doors to "check" for heat, etc.).
If a fire starts anywhere in your house, you should immediately call the fire department and alert everybody in your house about the fire. For certain fires, like a small kitchen fire you can try to take first-hand measures to ensure that the fire does not spread. You can use different tools that can help you in this case; a fire extinguisher is one of them. It is always advisable to get yourself and your family to a safe place first—after all life is more important than anything else.
In the event of a fire, focus first on getting the people in your home to safety. By the time you make it out of the fire with your family, it will probably be too dangerous to return inside, even for a beloved pet. Inform the arriving fire department of any pets left inside and leave the continued rescue efforts to the professionals. Do not stop or return inside to save a favorite family photo or personal documents.
In any fire situation, keep in mind smoke and fire are less intense low to the ground. The intensity of the heat and the temperature increases with increasing height. So, always try to drop to the floor and tell your family members to crawl, if possible. This will help them remain less exposed to the high temperature and damaging effects of inhaling smoke.
Entering or exiting a closed room may be a necessary part of your escape plan or is required to reach members of your family who cannot get themselves out. Before grabbing the doorknob and pushing the door wide open, always place your hand on the door and test the doorknob for heat. If the door or handle is hot to the touch, then it is likely that the fire has reached the other side of that door. Opening the door can cause more harm, as an open doorway provides more oxygen for the fire—making flames leap higher and towards the source of the oxygen. If the door shows signs of heat, find another path for your escape. If the door leads to a family member's bedroom, find another way in or inform the arriving fire department for rescue efforts.
If your clothes have caught fire: Stop. Drop. Roll. The point of this age-old adage is to help you suffocate the flames. Fire requires oxygen to keep burning. If you deny it that by smothering the flames while rolling, then you can help to put it out. Seek medical attention once you are safely away from any other fire source.
Once you are safely outside of the building, do not reenter—regardless of your reasoning. Further, it is also advisable to remain over 70 feet away from such areas in case of any explosion. Contact the fire department if it has not been done already or if they are already on site. Inform them of anyone who may still be inside.