If you assume you’d know what to do if a fire happens in your home, listen to the Oct. 13 podcast featuring Dr. Robert Cole, fire safety expert, on House Smarts on radio station WABC-AM (start at 26 minutes in).
Lou Manfredini, the show’s host, recalled a friend who had a fire on her stovetop: “Her initial reaction was to grab the pan and take it out of the house. All she did was spread the fire.”
When something unexpected happens like a fire, or the smoke alarm going off in the middle of the night, it can be hard to remember what to do.
“Without having thought things through, people can make the wrong choices,” said Dr. Cole. “We need to get people to think that a fire can happen to them, think about what they would do, and practice.”
His most important tips:
- Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, and be sure everyone in the home can hear them.
- Everyone in your home needs to know what to do if the smoke alarm goes off, especially if that happens at night when people are asleep. It’s important to be able to get out quickly.
- You need to practice your home escape. First, to be sure everyone can do what they need to do to get out safely (especially important when young children, older adults, or people with disabilities are part of the household). And if they’ve actually practiced, then in an emergency they will have that memory of what they should do.
“The risk of fire is real, and these are reasonable things to do to prepare,” said Dr. Cole. “You don’t want to be the family that gets caught off guard.”
Prevention1st.org has many Safety Resources, especially for families with children, to help them understand the risks and stay safe from fire, including Homefiredrill.org, a website to help you plan and practice your escape.