Tips on Escaping Fires

Preparing for Fires

  • Have an escape plan. Review escape routes with your family.
  • In high-rise buildings, never lock fire exits or doorways, halls, or stairways. Never prop stairway or other fire doors open.
  • Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut.
  • Teach family members to stay low to the floor, where the air is safer, when escaping from a fire.

Finding an Escape Route

  • Check closed doors with the back of your hand to feel for heat before you open them.
  • If the door is hot, do not open it. Find a second way out, such as a window. If you cannot escape through a window, hang a white sheet outside the window to alert firefighters to your presence.
  • If the door is cold, slowly open it and ensure that fire and/or smoke is not blocking your escape route.
    • If your escape route is blocked, shut the door and use another escape route.
    • If clear, leave immediately and close the door behind you. Be prepared to crawl.

Contacting the Fire Department

  • Do not assume someone else already called the Fire Department.
  • Get out of the house, then call the Fire Department.

After a Fire

  • If you are with a burn victim or are a burn victim yourself, call 9-1-1 and cool and cover your burns until emergency units arrive.
  • Once you are out of the building, stay out! Do not go back inside for any reason.
  • Tell the Fire Department if you know of anyone trapped in the building.