Time is the biggest enemy once a fire has started and escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house, apartment or dorm to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames.
When a fire occurs, do not waste time saving property. Take the safest exit route, but if you must escape through smoke, remember to crawl low under the smoke, and keep your mouth covered. The smoke contains toxic gases that can disorient you or—at worst—overcome you. Most people who die in a fire do so from smoke inhalation.
Never Open Doors That Are Hot To The Touch.
When you come to a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob and the crack between the door and door frame to make sure that fire is not on the other side. If it feels hot, use your secondary escape route. Even if the door feels cool, open it carefully. Brace your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. If heat and smoke come in, slam the door and make sure it is securely closed, then use your alternate escape route.
Designate A Meeting Place Outside. Take Attendance.
Designate a meeting location away from the home, but not necessarily across the street. For example, meet under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or front sidewalk to make sure everyone has gotten out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe. Designate one person to phone the fire department.
Once Out, Stay Out.
Remember to escape first, then notify the fire department using the 911 system or proper local emergency number in your area. Never go back into a burning building for any reason. If someone is missing, tell the firefighters. They are equipped to perform rescues safely.
DO NOT go back into the building to save your personal belongings.
Those items can be replaced. Nothing can replace YOU.