What to Do If Caught in a House Fire
Raging flames rip through your Chicagoland home – a terrifying sight we at ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons hope you never have to experience! But the reality is that thousands of residential fires occur in the U.S. every year, over 326,000 last year alone! The causes vary from cooking accidents (#1) to heaters, cigarettes, washers and dryers, BBQ grills, candles and more. Here are tips to escape a fire if one ever occurs in your home:
- Use a fire extinguisher – but only if it’s safe. Try to extinguish only small fires in their early stages. DO NOT attempt to put out any fire if it threatens your safety. Fires can increase in size and intensity in seconds, blocking exit routes and creating a toxic atmosphere.
- Scream to alert others in the house. Don’t rely on smoke alarms alone to warn others. They can malfunction or have low batteries. Get yourself and your family members out as quickly as possible.
- Follow your fire escape plan and fire drills you’ve practiced. Take the safest escape route and stay as low as possible to avoid inhaling smoke and deadly fumes. Cover your nose with a shirt or damp towel.
- Don’t waste time picking up valuables. It usually takes less than 30 seconds for a fire to get out of control. A few seconds can be the difference between life and death. Most valuables are replaceable. You’re not.
- If smoke is coming through cracks or under a door, don’t open it. Touch the door and doorknob with the back of your hand to check if it’s hot. If so, find another way out (door or window) to avoid flames and smoke on the other side. Never sleep in a room without more than one means of escape. A legal bedroom requires two exits, usually a door and a window.
- If you’re able to open a door but heat and smoke pours into the room, stay in the room and close the door. If you can open it safely, stay low and follow your escape route. Close doors behind you to prevent the fire from spreading.
- If there’s no safe exit (for example, from an upper story), stay in the room and seal the door and air vents with sheets or duct tape to prevent smoke from entering. Then call 911, open a window and yell for help. Wave a bright piece of cloth or use a light so that the firefighters notice you. Children should never hide under a bed or in a closet as that makes it harder for firefighters to find them.
- If your clothes catch fire, remember to “stop, drop, and roll” to put out the flames. Cover your face with your hands while doing so.
- Do not use elevators. If the power goes out, you could end up trapped inside the elevator, which in a fire could turn into an oven you can’t escape. Always use the stairs.
- Once you’re out, go to the assigned meeting place and stay there! Never reenter a burning building under any circumstances. Let firefighters, who have the necessary training and equipment, save others and as much of your property as possible.
If you live in the Chicagoland area and you’re having to cope with fire, smoke or water damage from a recent fire, the experienced team at ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons is ready to respond. We’re prepared for all the challenges a fire brings, and since we’re your neighbors we can act quickly.
About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or firstname.lastname@example.org